Chris Hackett believes the Cobblers’ defeat at Oxford United is a reminder they still need to make improvements despite their excellent form of the past month.
Town went to the Kassam Stadium on the back of three league wins in a row and just three points off the automatic promotion places in npower League Two.
Although they remain in touch with the promotion picture - they are outside the top seven by two points - the defeat does represent a setback.
Hackett feels the game illustrates how difficult it will be to go up this term, and the work that still needs to be done to achieve such a target.
“I don’t think they dominated us,” said the attacking midfielder, who maintained his fine recent form with another man-of-the-match performance. “They had some decent chances but so did we. We’re disappointed because we didn’t have one of our best games.
“We did well in patches but we know we’ve got to up our game even more.
“Teams are wary of us, they’re aware that we are a good team but we can’t just believe that and believe that we’re going to turn up and win matches.
“We’ve got to step up and work even harder now. Teams are going to up their game when they play us and we’ve got to realise that.”
Although Oxford were probably worthy winners - they scored twice and hit the woodwork twice - their first goal was highly contentious, with James Constable certainly in an offside position when he scored.
There were similar complaints about Jon-Paul Pittman’s winner but Hackett shrugged those debates off and believes the Cobblers should have had enough to win the game despite a few dubious decisions going against them.
“There were a few people suggesting the first one was offside but we can’t be talking about decisions in the game,” he said. “I think we did enough to get something from it and we can’t moan about things like that.
“It’s a difficult place to come to but we still felt we were fully capable of taking something from the match.”