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Boothroyd confident of extending lead in second leg

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Aidy Boothroyd is confident the Cobblers will add to their one-goal advantage in the second leg of their play-off semi-final against Cheltenham on Sunday.

Town beat the Robins 1-0 in the first game at Sixfields, Roy O’Donovan volleying home Chris Hackett’s cross midway through the first half.

The lead is a slender one that should have been greater, with Adebayo Akinfenwa seeing a header repelled by a first-class Scott Brown save and Luke Guttridge putting another headed effort over the bar.

But Boothroyd is confident his team will be able to get on the scoresheet at Whaddon Road and has an extra degree of comfort in knowing what they need to do to progress to Wembley.

“We worked so hard and played so well that we wanted to finish the tie off but Cheltenham will fancy their chances,” said the Cobblers boss, who kept club captain Kelvin Langmead and Clive Platt on the bench for the game and did not introduce them.

“In the second leg of a play-off you know what you’ve got to do and we know exactly what is required of us for the game at Cheltenham.

“We are confident we can score a goal anywhere and we are sure we can do that. But we’ve got to make sure we are very solid because we will have to survive an onslaught.”

Sixfields was not sold out for the first leg, with the crowd of 6,563 including 653 fans from Cheltenham, but the noise levels produced by the home supporters were appreciated by Boothroyd, who made special mention of it in his post-match review.

The manager is also looking forward to hearing similar backing for his players on Sunday, in a game for which the club has sold their 1,500 ticket allocation and which will establish which team goes through to the Wembley final.

“The fans were exactly what we want as a football staff,” he said. “Any manager or player will tell you they want to hear a crowd that upbeat.

“They made it very special and I’m expecting exactly the same at Cheltenham on Sunday. Hopefully they’ll keep coming back because they’ve seen what we can do.”

 

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