Lee Nicholls joined Northampton Town on loan at the start of the season and his impressive initial spell turned into a season long loan which is just eight games away from being a special campaign.
We caught up with the 20-year-old today at Latics’ Christopher Park training ground to hear from him about his progress.
“Both clubs have been great with me and 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 has had previous spells on loan with Accrington Stanley, Sheffield Wednesday, Shrewsbury Town and Hartlepool United but said his time so far at Sixfields Stadium has been the most beneficial.
“The other loan deals didn’t go too well for me and I don’t think I did enough at those other clubs.
“Getting the chance at Northampton I knew what was wanted of me and I had a clear goal in mind.”
The former England Under 20 international set himself a target at the start of the season, one he has already surpassed.
“Me and the gaffer spoke today and he said it was my 14th clean sheet the other day when we beat Oxford United.
“My target at the start of the season was 14 so I’m made up to get that many already, especially with six games to go.”
Northampton currently sit fourth in League Two and the chance for Nicholls to create some special personal moments are on the horizon but, he said he’s all about being part of the team.
“It could be a very special season for Northampton and we’ve got some big games coming up against Cheltenham who are a place below us and second place Port Vale who we’re only two points behind.
“If we can win those two games then we’re going to be in great shape to go for promotion.
“It’ll be a great achievement personally but I try not to think of personal achievements until we as a team have achieved something good.”
Although now revelling in his role with the Cobblers’ first team, Nicholls started out filling in for first choice stopper Shane Higgs, somebody he says he’s learned a lot from.
“When I came here Shane was the number one goalkeeper and I had three months of getting a few games which eventually turned into constant game time.
“Shane is an experienced goalkeeper who has had a long career and has passed on some really good knowledge to me which makes me even prouder to say that I’m first choice.”
Experienced former England international and Premier League winner Tim Flowers also keeps Nicholls on his toes at Northampton and the Cobblers’ goalkeeper coach has been wowed by the loanee’s performances so far this season, telling BBC Radio Northampton:
“He’s done a fantastic job and he’s never let a poor performance become a run because he’s always responded.
“Wigan Athletic have done us a turn letting him come here and it’s been brilliant for him and them that he’s here.
“All Lee wants to do is learn and work; he’s a Rolls Royce of an athlete.”