Byrom says confident Cobblers ‘chomping at the bit’ ahead of Stevenage trip

TOUGH AFTERNOON - Joel Byrom was left with a cut above his eye after a late challenge in the 1-1 draw with Cambridge United last Saturday (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
TOUGH AFTERNOON - Joel Byrom was left with a cut above his eye after a late challenge in the 1-1 draw with Cambridge United last Saturday (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
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Midfielder Joel Byrom insists neither the confidence or belief of the Cobblers squad has been affected by the ‘blip’ that has seen the team win just one of their past four matches in Sky Bet League Two.

Talk of blips seems a bit bizarre when talking about a team that’s 11 points clear at the top of the table, is unbeaten in 14 matches and hasn’t lost away from home since October 17 last year.

We are still on the unbeaten run. We would have preferred for there to have been more wins recently than draws, but we have to focus on beating Stevenage

Joel Byrom

But such have been the high standards set by Chris Wilder’s team, there was a genuine air of disappointment when Cambridge United scored a last-gasp equaliser at Sixfields last weekend, a strike that meant the Cobblers had dropped six points in four matches - although they once again extended their lead at the top as rivals Oxford United and Plymouth Argyle both lost.

Byrom says the players were also left feeling down by the result against the Us, but that after a week of training the spirits are high once again and the team are ‘chomping at the bit’ ahead of Saturday’s trip to one of his former clubs, Stevenage.

“It felt like a bit of a loss last weekend, but that shows how far we have come,” said Byrom.

“The lads were gutted, but we are still on the unbeaten run. We would have preferred for there to have been more wins recently than draws, but we have to focus on beating Stevenage.

“The lads are still feeling high, they are confident and it is going well for us at the minute, and we just have to use that to our strength.

“We trained on Thursday and it was a tough session, all the lads are chomping at the bit because they all want to play.

“We are going into Saturday aiming to get the three points to either push us further clear, or keeping the teams behind us waiting on the same points.

“This is league two, and nothing is a banker, nothing is a gimme.

“Stevenage are fighting for their lives down there and it is going to be a tough game.

“We are going to have to be professional, go there with the right attitude, work on how we think we are going to win the game, and then put that plan in place.”

Byrom spent three seasons as a Stevenage player, joining them from Northwich Victoria when the Broadhall Way club were still in the Football Conference.

The 29-year-old was part of the Stevenage team that won promotion to the Football League and he admits it will be good to return there this weekend, although any goodwill towards the Hertfordshire club will be forgotten once the game gets underway.

“I spent a good three years at Stevenage, and I had some good times there,” said Byrom, who left Stevenage to sign for Preston North End, before joining the Cobblers in the summer of 2014.

“It is a nice place to go back to, but it is all about us now. We just have to concentrate on the next game, look to get the three points, and then take that into the Easter weekend.

“We didn’t pick up the three points last weekend, and we have had the full week to knuckle down in training and put that right.”

It has been another eventful week at Sixfields, with this time events off the field attracting the wrong sort of headlines.

James Collins was fined two weeks’ wages by the club after being caught on camera urinating into a glass and tipping the contents over the edge of a VIP balcony while enjoying a day out at the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday.

The striker apologised for the incident and returned to training on Thursday, and Byrom says it is already forgotten as far as his team-mates are concerned.

“James has come out and apologised, and he is genuinely sorry,” said Byrom.

“The club have sorted it out behind closed doors, and that’s that really. We are just concentrating on the next match. The players aren’t involved really, and it’s all about Saturday for us.”