Striker Andy Williams has welcomed the strong competition he faces to win a place in the Cobblers attacking line-up for the forthcoming Sky Bet League Two campaign.
The 31-year-old was Town manager Dean Austin’s first signing when he joined in May having left Doncaster Rovers, and is expected to play a key role in the club’s push for promotion this season.
But the player certainly isn’t taking anything for granted, with the signing of Junior Morias from Peterborough United for an undisclosed fee last week focusing the minds of the Cobblers attacking players that little bit more.
Williams, Morias, Kevin van Veen, Sam Hoskins and Dean Bowditch will all be wanting to be among the first names on the teamsheet week in, week out, and the Hereford-born player believes that can only be good for the team.
“It is always important to have options, especially at the top end of the pitch,” said Williams.
“As a striker, no matter what happens in the season, you tend to go on scoring runs, and when you are maybe having the odd off day it is good to have options.
“Even if you are only coming off for the final 30 minutes and there is somebody to come on who is fresh and has that hunger to come on and score.”
Williams is currently in Spain with the rest of the first team squad, and he has been impressed with the work ethic of the players.
He says there is a real hunger among the group to succeed and make up for last season’s disappointing relegation from league one.
“There is a good group of lads here, and I knew that before I came, but it is good to see the hunger is there as well,” he said.
“Every five-a-side is competitive, and that is what you want, and you are hoping that is then going to spill out on to the pitch on match days.”
Williams will feature in the Cobblers’ latest pre-season friendly on Thursday evening, when Town take on Hull City Under-23s at their Spanish training base (ko 5.30pm UK time).
To date, the Cobblers have beaten Sileby Rangers, St Albans City and Brackley Town, and although the clash with the Tigers youngsters is likely to be a step up in class, Williams says it is important for Town to maintain their good form.
“It has been good so far, and I know we haven’t had massive tests in the pre-season games, but we have won them all, and hopefully we can keep that winning mentality going,” he said.
“As a squad, we are going to have a good mentality, and a good way of playing football, and I think that will help us be a bit different to the other teams in the league this season.”
As one of only a clutch of new faces in the Town group, Williams has really welcomed the week in Spain as it has given him the chance to really get to know his new team-mates, who he reveals haven’t gone easy on him!
“The lads have really helped to integrate me into the group,” he said. “Although I am slightly ashamed of how I have played on the golf course in the little bit of time off we have had!
“The lads also have not been shy in taking the mickey out of me in the early stages of getting to know me, and it has been good fun.”
The Cobblers squad return to the UK on Friday, and will be at the PTS Academy Stadium for the club’s open day, which starts at 10am on Sunday morning.
As well the players having an open training session on the pitch, there will family fun, stands and stalls, the club will be also be launching the new home kit for the season ahead.
Admission to the open day is free.