WE’RE NOT THERE YET, SAYS RICKY

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Ben Baker

RICKY HOLMES could quite eas­ily start pre­par­ing for his first ever cam­paign in the third tier of English football – but last week­end’s match-win­ner in­sists no one at Northamp­ton Town is get­ting ahead of them­selves just yet.

Wide man Holmes has had to be pa­tient this sea­son, com­ing off the bench in the first three games of the cam­paign be­fore be­ing kept on the side­lines by groin and back in­juries.

That meant that his first start of the sea­son only came on Jan­uary 2, the 28-year-old mark­ing the oc­ca­sion with a sub­lime win­ner for the Cob­blers in a 4-3 thriller against Lu­ton.

And ever since Holmes has been mak­ing up for lost time as head­ing into the Easter week­end the tricky winger had net­ted seven times.

Last week­end’s strike was cer­tainly sev­enth heaven too as he curled home a beauty deep into in­jury time to see the run­away lead­ers come from 2-0 down to beat Steve­nage 3-2.

For a man who started his ca­reer at Non-League Chelms­ford City be­fore spells with Bar­net and Portsmouth, Holmes could be ex­cused for al­ready plan­ning his maiden ad­ven­ture in League One.

But Holmes, who ar­rived at Six­fields Sta­dium per­ma­nently last Jan­uary af­ter im­press­ing in an ini­tial one-month loan, is adamant this couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth.

“I would be ly­ing if I said I didn’t have one eye on League One, but there is still a job to be done this sea­son,” said Holmes.

“We are tak­ing it game by game. We are not the type of team that looks at games in chunks of threes or fours – we are sim­ply just try­ing to get as many points on the board as pos­si­ble. For me, hav­ing come from Non-League football, just play­ing at any level of the pro­fes­sional game is an achieve­ment.

“But I want to play as high as I can and I think that as soon as a player doesn’t aim for the top then that is when you are fail­ing. So of course I would love to play in League One and as high as I pos­si­bly can, but we have a job to do first.

“This league is re­lent­less but it is credit to the man­age­ment and staff for get­ting the strength in depth that we cur­rently have.

“Fresh legs in League Two is a huge ad­van­tage and it is great to see the squad we have got here and I be­lieve it is one that can get us to the next level if we keep our heads down and keep work­ing hard.”

Few should have been sur­prised by Holmes’ win­ner last week­end with the winger seem­ingly on a one-man mis­sion to cre­ate his very own Goal of the Sea­son list – strikes against Ley­ton Ori­ent, Da­gen­ham and MK Dons are also worth a watch.

“I’ve scored some nice goals this sea­son but the win­ner against Steve­nage was up there be­cause of the man­ner of it and what it meant, help­ing us win af­ter be­ing 2-0 down,” he added.

“This team doesn’t know when it is beaten. We showed that as we could have thrown in the towel, think­ing that we have plenty more games left, but we didn’t.

“I hope I still have a few more goals in me. I was out in­jured for a long time, but hope­fully I can keep go­ing now and hit dou­ble fig­ures. I think that would be an achieve­ment, es­pe­cially for a winger.”

PIC­TURE: TGSPHOTO

ALL-SMILES: Ricky Holmes has been in su­perb form for Northamp­ton Town of late

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