Aidy Boothroyd attended the latest NTFC SL Open Forum at Sixfields on Thursday night. For those who could not attend, a brief round up of the meeting can be found below:
Q: How is Alex Nicholls doing?
AB: He has had a bad infection which has delayed his recovery a little but the Doctors know what it is and he has been on antibiotics to clear it up. He came out of hospital today and is back home and now it is just a matter of time and letting nature take its course. We are looking at the autumn for him to be fit again.
Q: What did you change on Tuesday to improve our away form?
AB: I had a meeting with the players to get their opinion on our away form. We felt we were not staying in away games long enough and we were ending up having to chase the game. On Tuesday we were very solid and we could have secured all 3 points on another night. Given we hit the woodwork 4 times it was a positive performance. At times we will play different formations, different tactics and different methods to try and win games, depending on who we have available, who we are playing and the conditions.
Q: Are we changing the colour of the away kit?
AB: There are many reasons why we haven’t won away as much as we would have liked, but the colour of the away kit isn’t one of them! That said the away kit colour is changing next year.
Q: Which team has impressed you most in League 2 this season?
AB: I was very impressed with Bradford City in the first half of the season. I have also been impressed with Rotherham but as I have said before if we are right on our game we can beat anyone, but if we are not right on our game we can also lose to anyone as well.
Q: Which player has impressed you this season, on or off the pitch?
AB: Alex Nicholls. When he arrived I thought we would struggle to hold on to him in January, he was that good. It was a real blow for him to get injured but he will be back and he will kick on again. Alex was excellent, but all the players have done well, it has been a real squad effort this season.
Q: Do you have a best XI in your head?
AB: I have some untouchables in the team who I think should always start, but players can join and leave that group based on how they play and how they train. We also look at tactics, conditions, form, health, issues that might be going on in the players lives and more before we decide on the team.
Q: Which game was the turning point for us this season?
AB: I think the Barnet away game was a big moment because that game really upset me. Sometimes a defeat like that can be good for you, it makes you refocus. The win at Accrington was a big win, as was the Fleetwood home game. I think Oxford will be a massive game, as will Wycombe away this Saturday.
Q: How big an influence is Ben Tozer with his long throws?
AB: Huge. He is the second highest assist maker in the whole of League 2, with Chris Hackett third in the same table. Teams spend so long working to combat his throw, it can often be a smokescreen because there is more to us than that, but it is a huge weapon to have.
Q: How pleased have you been with Joe Widdowson?
AB: He has been excellent. We worked hard to get him last summer but I am pleased we did. We now have a squad of players who will be attracting the attention of other clubs. That shows our progress, and wasn’t the case when we started.
Q: Are there some more good young players coming through the Academy?
AB: There are. 4 have come through this year and there are some more below that age group, including the likes of Ivan Toney and others. We have some really good young players and Trevor Gould and his staff deserve a lot of credit.
Q: The pitch looked very worn on Saturday, why is that?
AB: We are paying the price for the winter we have had, the fact we train a lot on it and that we got some games on in bad weather. It is no ones fault other than the weather, and maybe mine for training on it too much. The Groundsman has done a terrific job this season and he deserves a lot of credit.
Q: Are you looking at bringing anyone in before the loan deadline?
AB: It depends what happens in the next few games. If we maintain form and fitness I may be reluctant to bring anyone in. If we lose form or suffer an injury or two I might bring a player or two in. I will only bring someone in if they can help improve us, I won’t bring anyone in just for the sake of it.