MIKE Pollitt admits a season on loan at Northampton has done young goalkeeper Lee Nicholls “the world of good”.
Nicholls was back at Christopher Park this week to catch up with life with his parent club, before returning to the Sixfields for the run-in.
Northampton, on the back of Nicholls’ fine form between the sticks, are just one point off automatic promotion from League Two with seven matches left.
And Pollitt – who has watched Nicholls develop from a schoolboy prospect to a fully-fledged Football League regular – reckons the loan move has worked for all three parties.
“It was great to see Lee again, he’s done brilliantly down at Northampton,” Pollitt told the Evening Post.
“I heard someone say he’d kept 14 clean sheets this year, which is not bad at any level – especially in your first full season.
“They’re still in with a chance of promotion, which he’ll have played a big part in.
“It’s been good for him to go down there and see what it’s like in League Two.
“He needed to get away and broaden his horizons, and he’s enjoyed his time there.
“It’s been a great move for him, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go out again next year.
“It’s pointless him coming back here and not playing.
“After having the year he’s had, playing in the Under-21s would be a backward step.
“Who knows, if Northampton do go up this year they might want him back, which would give him some League One experience.”
Nicholls, who’s not missed a league game for the Cobblers this term, has already spent time out on loan at Accrington Stanley, Sheffield Wednesday, Shrewsbury and Hartlepool.
But the 20-year-old says his time at Northampton has been by far the most productive.
“The other loan deals didn’t go too well for me and I don’t think I did enough at those other clubs,” he acknowledged.
“Getting the chance at Northampton, I knew what was wanted of me and I had a clear goal in mind. Both clubs have been great with me, they’ve both worked well together to tell me what they want from me and the agreement seems to have worked well for all parties.
“I did well in the first three months and Aidy Boothroyd said he was impressed and wanted to keep me on for longer which I was really happy about.”
Nicholls is also delighted at recently passing a personal challenge prior to his arrival at Northampton.
“My clean sheet the other day when we beat Oxford United was my 14th of the season,” he added.
“My target at the start of the season was 14 so I’m made up to get that many already, especially with seven games to go.”