Chris Wilder has warned Newcastle United they are in for a testing evening when the Cobblers take on the Toon in the Capital One Cup second round on Tuesday night (ko 7.45pm).
The Cobblers travel to the north east having suffered a blip in form following the impressive three straight wins they opened the season with.
Last Tuesday’s 2-0 reverse at Barnet was followed up with a lack-lustre showing in Saturday’s disappointing 2-0 home reverse at the hands of Plymouth Argyle, but Wilder feels those defeats are irrelevent as they head to St James’s Park.
It is a real glamour tie for the Cobblers, who will be playing in one of English football’s great cathedrals, and Wilder is expecting his players to rise to the occasion, and give Steve McClaren’s men plenty to think about.
Asked how big a test the trip to take on the Magpies is, Wilder said: “I don’t think it gets any bigger, really.
“There are obviously the top, top sides that are not in the competition because they are battling it out in Champions League qualification, or the Europa League, or have won the Premier League title.
“So, it doesn’t really come any bigger being drawn away from home at a fantastic club like Newcastle.
“It is a great opportunity, not for me, because I don’t get anything about me or their manager, it’s about the players.
“It always has been, and always will be, about the players. It’s ours against theirs, and it’s about going there and playing well, and embracing the challenge.
“We want to go there and do ourselves justice, because we feel we are a good side at league level, and it is going to be a big step.
“But we don’t want to be going there to make the numbers up, we aren’t going there to roll over and have our tummies tickled, we want to make sure we are tough, we are hard to beat, and we give them a competitive game.”