League One Manager Preview: Justin Edinburgh and Northamptonby Mike Holden / 20 July 2017, 10:25Tweet
Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) previews Justin Edinburgh and Northampton ahead of the upcoming 2017/18 League One season.
There was a sense of anti-climax surrounding Northampton’s first season back in League One, post-Chris Wilder. But Justin Edinburgh, replacing Rob Page in January, did enough to steer the Cobblers to safety, winning six of his first 11 matches. Now a fresh chapter is ready to be written following the purchase of a 45 per cent stake in the club by Chinese investment group 5USport. The budget isn’t astronomical but significant player turnover - seven departures, 11 new arrivals - has been brokered without any fuss.
Edinburgh is a man of many little theories but no over-riding philosophy. He is comfortable playing a variety of systems, the choice of which largely depends on the strengths and weaknesses of the personnel available to him, and he will stick with the same formation for months at a time, almost never swayed by the next opponents and the particular challenges they pose. His career path to date has been a decade of almost continual progress, borne out of a mindset that values experience and learning from almost every mistake.
"We are not going to be throwing needless money away, being the big spenders. But (the new investment) makes us that little bit more competitive in a tough division. For me, it’s great news and allows me to strengthen the squad. I need personnel that can change games. There needs to be a squad that allows me to be flexible, we can’t be one dimensional. Whether that be adding pace, going direct or being more physical, we have to try and get the blend right."
At the end of last season, the Cobblers were looking like certainties to be embroiled in a long survival battle this time around - but little did anyone know then how much the landscape was about to change. In Edinburgh, they have the ideal manager to oversee such a big overhaul of playing staff and he can be trusted to get the balance right pretty quickly. When the games start doing thick and fast, Northampton might be one of the most consistent teams in the division.