Aidy Boothroyd has spoken of a need for his Cobblers team to reach the 49-point mark – the unwritten benchmark to avoid relegation – despite them being just one win off the npower League Two top three.
Town have won three league games in a row, scoring 10 goals in the process, and head to Oxford United on Saturday bidding to record a fourth successive victory that could see them enter the play-off zone for the first time this season.
But Boothroyd’s focus all season has been concentrated on simply improving on last year, and he has placed avoiding a relegation struggle at the top of his list of priorities.
“You’ve always got to be professional and be respectful of your opponent and you’re only ever one result away from being complacent,” he said.
“We have to pick up as many points as we can and get to 49 points as fast as we can; he have to keep at it and keep chomping at the bit.
“We go out to win every game but we have to be respectful of every team we play.
“In Oxford’s case we’ll be up against a team with a lot of injuries – we’ve found ourselves in that situation a number of times and we’ve found that when you are a wounded animal you are quite a dangerous animal to take on.”
Northampton play an Oxford side whose supporters are on the brink of mutiny following some less than impressive results of late.
Although the team has not been booed during a match yet, they have received some harsh criticism from their supporters, with some suggesting defeat on Saturday should pave the way for manager Chris Wilder’s departure.
But Boothroyd feels his opposite number is being badly undermined by a long injury list at the Kassam Stadium.
“The fans there are only expectant because of the manager and the club and the work that has been done,” he said.
“They were a non-League club for a few years and he got them up.
“They’ve flirted with the play-offs and been in and around them, making progress.
“Unfortunately, as a manager, none of us can control the injuries that you get and they’ve had a few, just like we have.
“It is a difficult time for them but that’s not our concern because we’ve had difficult times for a little while now and we’re hoping to have a good time for a change.”