Boss Page plays down injury concerns and expects improved performance as Cobblers prepare to host QPR

Cobblers defender Rod McDonald was forced off early during Saturday's pre-season defeat at Brackley, but Town boss Rob Page says it was just a precaution (Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

Cobblers defender Rod McDonald was forced off early during Saturday's pre-season defeat at Brackley, but Town boss Rob Page says it was just a precaution (Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

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Rob Page is hoping for an improved performance from his side on Tuesday evening when he takes charge of his first home game as Cobblers manager, with Championship side Queens Park Rangers the visitors to Sixfields for Northampton’s fourth pre-season friendly.

It’s not been the smoothest of starts for Page who has witnessed his side go down to defeat in two of their opening three pre-season matches, both to teams in the National League North, on top of losing several key players to injury.

PLENTY TO PONDER - Cobblers boss Rob Page (left) and assistant boss Paul Wilkinson

PLENTY TO PONDER - Cobblers boss Rob Page (left) and assistant boss Paul Wilkinson

But the new man in charge carries a measured and relaxed demeanor and believes Northampton’s pre-season problems can and will be remedied in the coming weeks, and they will be fully prepared for the start of their Sky Bet League One campaign next month.

Persistent niggling injuries remain a slight worry however, although Page played down those concerns following Saturday’s 4-2 defeat to Brackley Town when both Rod McDonald and Brendan Moloney joined Jak McCourt, Alfie Potter and Raheem Hanley on the treatment table.

Page said: “The man objective is to get everyone ready for August 6.

“Of course we want to give them minutes on the pitch but we don’t want to run the risk of having longer term injuries.

“Rod had a back problem and a little niggle last week which seized up on him and Brendan struggled with his groin.

“Perhaps he (Moloney) came back a couple of days too soon and he’s just felt it again, so once again we’d rather be careful and take him off to make sure he’s ready in a few weeks.”

The prognosis for Potter is not so positive, though, with Page adding: “Alfie’s got a tear, so that’s not going to be a quick fix even though it’s not as bad as first thought.

“He’ll be a couple of weeks and we’ll have to be patient with him.

“It’s pre-season though, you get these niggles and these little knocks and you’ve just got to work hard to get them back on the pitch and available.”

QPR are the visitors to Sixfields on Tuesday and Page is confident of an improved showing from his side to ease any anxiety among fans who are concerned by what they’ve seen so far.

He added: “It’s the first home game for me personally and it’s a great opportunity for the lads to come in and play against a top club in QPR.

“It’s still pre-season and we know what we’re up against.

“It’s about getting into good habits, doing the right thing and we’ll have to do that on Tuesday.

“Saturday was about building the minutes up. Some have played more than others and we’ll address that again on Tuesday when we’ll look at it.

“We’ll put a team out that will improve again on what we’ve done of late and that’ll influence the decision that I make for August 6.”