Northampton have the potential to make real strides under Johnson (above)

By Laurie Fitzgerald

Friday saw League Two side Northampton Town announce Gary Johnson as their new manager on a two and a half-year deal.

Looking around the Northampton forums and there is an overwhelmingly positive response to the appointment, with praise rightly going to Chairman David Cardoza for his decision on the managerial hotseat.

It’s easy to see why they’re so happy; Johnson has an excellent track record, especially since his appointment at Yeovil Town in 2001.

The Englishman guided the Glovers through the most successful period in their history, taking them from non-league football to League One, where the club still remains today.

Johnson then moved onto Bristol City and showed real character in overcoming a difficult start to turn things around to guide them to promotion to the Championship.

He then built a squad at Ashton Gate that became play-off contenders, securing a top six finish in their first season back in the second tier.

They reached the play-off final, only to narrowly lose to a Dean Windass wonder-goal as Hull City took their spot in the Premier League at the expense of the Robins.

The summer saw Johnson move back into League One and become manager of Peterborough. He only lasted nine months before reportedly falling out with Chairman Darragh MacAnthony, although he is not the first to do this as current Posh manager Darren Ferguson will testify.

Despite this short spell, he left Peterborough just outside the play-off positions on goal difference with games in hand over their promotion rivals. Not a bad position to leave the side in for the second half of the season.

Johnson has now decided to take on the challenge at Sixfields, and it is a much-needed boost for the supporters who have endured a disappointing season, with the Cobblers finding themselves 16th in the table.

Despite a notable win in the Carling Cup over Liverpool at Anfield in September, Ian Sampson was unable to find a consistent run of results to produce a play-off push, ultimately costing Sampson his job.

The main aim now for Johnson is to ensure the team shows a considerable improvement for the rest of the campaign, with neither promotion or relegation realistic aims at this current moment in time.

The former Latvia manager officially took over team duties after yesterday’s game at Shrewsbury, with caretaker manager Malcolm Crosby taking charge of the 3-2 defeat.

However, the reason for this underlines why Johnson has all the attrubutes to change the fortunes of the club.

Johnson said on Friday, “From today it’s going to be more hands on but Malcolm knows the ones that are going to have a cry if you have a go at them so I’ll sit back and have a watching brief.”

For Northampton fans, there shouldn’t be many tears with Johnson in charge over the next couple of years.

So what do you think? How good an appointment is this for Northampton? Will Johnson guide the Cobblers in the right direction over the coming years? Let us know your thoughts

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