Boss Hasselbaink to maintain positive approach as Cobblers hit the road

Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

Boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink will not be changing his positive approach as the Cobblers play their first game on the road under their new manager this weekend.

And he has told his players to ‘embrace’ the challenge of taking on Southend United in their own backyard on Saturday (ko 3pm).

The Dutchman has made a flying start to his Sixfields career, winning his first two matches in charge.

Doncaster Rovers were beaten 1-0 and Portsmouth 3-1 with the space of three days, but both of those victories were achieved at Sixfields.

Hasselbaink now takes his new team on their travels for the first time, with the trip to Southend the first of two away games in the space of three days as Town also go to Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night.

And although Hasselbaink says he may tinker with a few things away from Sixfields, he insists he will be going to Roots Hall in a positive frame of mind this weekend.

We want to keep on going, and forcing, and try to do the same as we do when we play at home when we are away. We need to play with that energy and togetherness

Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

“It is a different challenge, but the approach should be the same,” said the Cobblers boss, who has only been in charge for 11 days.

“Certain things we have to do the same, but obviously you are playing away from home so the tactics might be a little bit tweaked, and you might need a little more patience.

“But we want to keep on going, and forcing, and try to do the same as we do when we play at home when we are away.

“We need to play with that energy and togetherness.

“Yes, we might be under a little bit more pressure because we are playing against more opposition fans, but you have to embrace that and enjoy it.”

Tuesday’s win over Pompey, coupled with a 1-0 defeat for Southend at leaders Shrewsbury, means the Cobblers go into weekend clash above their hosts.

Which is pretty impressive when you remember Town were pointless and rock bottom of league one at 3pm last Saturday afternoon.

Aside from a 5-0 thrashing at Rotherham United on the second Saturday of the season, Brown’s team have been competitive in every game this season, not losing any by more than the odd goal, and Hasselbaink is expecting a tough encounter by the seaside.

“Every game is very difficult in this league,” said the 45-year-old, who managed his Burton team to a 0-0 draw at Roots Hall on their way to the league two title in 2014/15.

“You have to be at it all the time, you cannot just turn it on when you want to turn it on, because then you will have an uphill battle.

“You have to put yourself in the frame to give yourself a chance, and that means you have to fight and you have to be ready for whatever comes to you.

“Those kind of things we have done well in the two matches at home, and we want to do that as well away from home.”

Saturday’s match at Southend is the third in a run of nine fixtures in the space of 28 days for the Cobblers.

It is a hectic spell for the players, and Hasselbaink hinted he may make personnel changes for the weekend, although he would elaborate.

“There might be changes, I’m not going to tell you, but there might be,” said the Cobblers boss.

“We have to use the squad, we have to use the team, and we have to look at who has knocks, and few of them have knocks and stuff, and see how they are.

“We have to have a look at them in the eye and see.

“But I like players who say ‘no, I want to play’ even though they may have a knock, so we will have to make the decision with the staff.”

The Cobblers are definitely without Shaun McWilliams, who suffered a foot injury in Tuesday’s win over Portsmouth.

Also missing are long-term absentees John-Joe O’Toole, Sam Hoskins, Sam Foley and Aaron Phillips.