Justin Edinburgh believes Rochdale are still very much in the hunt for a Sky Bet League One promotion play-off place.
The Cobblers boss was at Kingsmeadow on Tuesday night to watch Dale suffer a damaging 3-1 defeat at AFC Wimbledon.
The loss saw Keith Hill’s men drop to ninth and stay six points adrift of sixth-placed Southend United with just seven matches of their season remaining.
It means they have a mountain to climb to finish in the top six, but ahead of the Cobblers’ trip to Spotland on Saturday (ko 3pm), Edinburgh believes their hosts will still be dreaming of promotion.
“I have no doubts that Rochdale will still believe they have a chance of making the play-offs,” said the Town manager.
“It gets tough between now and the end of the season, and obviously games run out, but they also get more intense, there is more on them and things can happen.
“You look at Bury. They have been in great form and they go to Oxford (on Tuesday) and get beat 5-1, you just don’t know and you can’t read what will happen.
“So I think Rochdale will still believe they will have an outside chance of making that last play-off spot.”
Edinburgh was at Kingsmeadow on Tuesday night, taking in the game along with assistant boss Dave Kerslake.
The match was evenly poised at 0-0 until the dismissal of Dale midfielder Keith Keane on the stroke of half-time, with Dons then scoring three goals in the space of five chaotic second-half minutes to secure the points.
A strike from Dale’s Callum Camps ensured it finish 3-1, and Edinburgh isn’t looking too much into the result as he prepares his team for what he knows will be a tough test.
“Rochdale started really well, and then had the man sent off which had a big influence on the game,” said the Cobblers boss.
“Wimbledon are really good at home, we know that, and Rochdale will be disappointed with the result, but they are a good footballing side.
“We know this is going to be another difficult away trip, but we have been going well of late away from home and can take confidence from the clean sheet on Saturday as well.
“We were disappointed to lose our last away game, at Bolton, but there were some big decisions that went against us that day.
“I think if we can go and replicate the away performances we have managed in our past two games, at Wimbledon and Bolton, then we are certainly going to give Rochdale a tough game.”
On the fact Dale will be without Keane this weekend, Edinburgh said: “It’s a blow for them as he is an experienced player, but they have other good players.
“We are in good form ourselves, and have been for a little while now.
“We have showed a lot of consistency in our performances, and it is another game the players are looking forward to.
“Hopefully the freshness that we will have, not having had a midweek game, will stand us in good stead.
“Rochdale had to travel to Wimbledon on Tuesday, so hopefully we can try and use that to our advantage.”