Aidy Boothroyd says the Cobblers have to be more incisive in attack if they are to be involved in the npower League Two promotion race.
The Town manager has some extra time with his players between matches this week, with 11 days passing from the defeat at Oxford United, and the team’s next assignment.
That comes in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy third round, with Leyton Orient the visitors to Sixfields on Wednesday December 5 (7.45pm kick-off).
Boothroyd will not receive any players back from injury during that time, with John Johnson, Luke Guttridge and David Artell scheduled to be out until January and Alex Nicholls likely to miss up to a year with a broken leg.
But the manager will get plenty of time on the training ground to correct what he felt was a lack of penetration in the weekend loss at the Kassam Stadium.
“People have got a bit of a thing about possession and possession is great but it’s not about having the ball, it’s about what you do with it in both boxes,” he said.
“We didn’t get enough bodies in the box on Saturday but we weren’t really incisive enough.
“We had some really good build-up play and we got a good final ball in on occasions but the goalkeeper was taking the ball too easily.
“In those situations we need to head him into the net - the ball and the goalkeeper - our striker needs to do that.
“There were lots of positives to take from the game and we need to take those on board going forward.”