JOHN JOHNSON says the Cobblers squad is ‘far stronger’ than it was at this time last year.
There was plenty of excitement around Sixfields during the 2011 pre-season campaign as experienced boss Gary Johnson rebuilt the Town team.
But his efforts proved fruitless as the club plummeted towards the bottom end of league two before the manager left by mutual consent in November.
Aidy Boothroyd was appointed and he lifted the spirits and performance levels of the side to ensure they avoided relegation.
And with a summer to stamp his authority on the Sixfields squad, Boothroyd has assembled a group that is going places, according to right-back Johnson.
“I think we’re far stronger this year,” said the former Middlesbrough man. “We’re fitter, there’s a lot more pace in the team and I think, all round, we’re definitely stronger this year.
“I just think all round, mentally, we’ve got old players who’ve played more games and the ability.
“We’ve got some good players now and the more games we play, the better we’ll gel and we’ll be better for it.”
Johnson has been forced to adapt to playing behind two new wide men during the friendly action, with Chris Hackett and Ishmel Demontagnac recruited this summer.
But the full-back is enjoying teaming up with both players, who he feels bring plenty to the Cobblers party.
“Chris is a very energetic, quick player,” said Johnson. “He’s got good delivery and sometimes you just have to give him it and let him do his thing. He’s very direct so he’s a good asset for us.
“They’re different players. Ishmel’s more tricky and faster. But they’re both very quick, very good.
“They get up and down and they’ve got good attitudes so I’m sure they’ll be a real asset to the team.”