Cobblers boss Dean Austin remains satisfied with the progress his players are making after their 2-0 victory in Tuesday’s opening pre-season friendly against Northampton Sileby Rangers at Fernie Fields.
There was little to write home about in terms of goalmouth action and clear-cut chances in what was a typically laboured and low-key friendly contest but Town’s superior quality eventually told in the final 20 minutes.
After the first-half team were held to a goalless draw, a different XI took to the pitch in the second-half and they found the breakthrough when Morgan Roberts headed in Daniel Powell’s left-wing cross, and that was followed by Sam Foley making it two in similar fashion, this time from Shay Facey’s delivery, to complete an opening pre-season win.
As well as the focus on building up match fitness and the victory, Austin was also relieved to see his squad come through the game unscathed.
“We’ve had a tough but really good week and tonight we mixed it all up,” he said. “Sileby did well, they made it difficult for us and put 10 men behind the ball but we’re trying to work on some of our movements.
“The main positive to come out of the game was that 20 players featured tonight and they’ve all come out of it well and there’s no injuries, so now we can recover and move on again.
“I’m reasonably happy with the fitness and we’ve worked well. I work a bit differently to the way the boys are used to working because most of it is with the football but we’ve put some good work in.
“It’s difficult at the moment because the ground is so hard but so far we’ve been OK and there are no injuries.
“You’ve always got to take the positives out of these situations. We’ve only been back eight days so we’re just trying to get ourselves as physically competitive as we can for a long, gruelling season.”
Almost all of the usual suspects were involved, bar the injured Matt Crooks and Dean Bowditch, and they were joined by academy players Roberts, Sean Whaler, Joe Iaciofano, James Goff and Camron McWilliams, the former two having signed professional deals earlier in the summer.
“Morgan and Sean Whaler have been with us from the first day (of pre-season),” explained Austin. “Both trained really well and I thought Morgan did some really really nice things tonight and showed what a good player he’s going to be.
“Cam only came with us today and it was a bit different for him, especially playing off the left side, so it wasn’t an easy situation but I thought he acquitted himself well.”