Chris Wilder is warning his Cobblers players against any sort of complacency as they prepare to take on rock-bottom Yeovil Town on Saturday (ko 3pm).
There is sure to be something of a party atmosphere inside Sixfields following the sale of the club to Kelvin Thomas, who will be attending his first game as the club’s executive chairman.
The Cobblers are hoping for a full-house of just under 6,000 for the Sky Bet League Two showdown, and hopes will be very high that in-form Town can maintain their brilliant recent form.
Wilder’s men have lost just one of their past 13 league two games, taking 30 points out of 39 in the process, and are now just two points behind leaders Plymouth Argyle.
Yeovil on the other hand are without a league win in 11 matches and, after being relegated from league one in May, are now bottom of league two after a terrible start to the season.
Wilder is in no doubt his his side have the ability to see off the Glovers, but is warning his players, and the supporters, that they are going to have to be at their best.
“Sometimes, and you see it at a lot of clubs, it is difficult to arrest the slide,” said Wilder, when asked about Yeovil’s fall from grace, with the Somerset club playing in the Sky Bet Championship just 18 months ago.
“But I have to say I have an enormous amount of respect for their manager (Paul Sturrock).
“Every time any of my teams have come across him and his teams, they have been really stubborn and hard to beat, and he knows his football inside and out.
“His message to his players will be ‘let’s go and upset the team that’s in form, let’s go and puncture their home record, let’s go and make it a bad day for them’.
“In football, there is always two teams and there is always two ambitions, so they will come more determined and they will want to put on a good show.
“They will think there is plenty enough games for them to start climbing the table, and there are.
“This is going to be a challenge we are going to have to overcome, whether they sit in or whether they come out for the game, who knows?
“But my players have got to play well, and if they do we will have another great chance of winning.
“But because of what’s happened this week, or because of our position, or how well we have been doing, come 3pm on Saturday the game starts on the level.
“We have all seen what can happen, we’ve seen what happened at Crawley where were in total ascendancy up to 60 minutes, and the game was really done.
“But then a ball goes into an area, there’s a missed header, a penalty decision, and all of a sudden the nature of the game changes.
“That is sport, that is what happens, but thankfully on Tuesday we showed enough resolve to go and claim a really important three points, but it’s a tough profession we are in.”
And the Town boss added: “People are not going to give you things by lying down, and I know a Paul Sturrock team won’t, so we are going to have to word as hard, if not harder, than we have been doing.
“We are going to have to play to our standards to get the result, and we really do want to finish this week off on the front foot.
“If we manage to get the three points it has been a fantastic month for us on the playing side, and puts us in a great position.
“Hopefully people will recognise that and people will come down in their numbers on Saturday.
“Off the pitch the supporters have shown how much this football club means to them and what a big part of their lives it is, and if we can get a full-house, then that will be a great start to the new regime.”
The Cobblers will be forced into one change for the Yeovil encounter, with Brendan Moloney missing the chance to play against his former club as he is serving a one-match ban for his dismissal at Crawley.
Wilder will either named Josh Lelan in Moloney’s place at right-back, or perhaps ask Jason Taylor to fill that role.
Ricky Holmes is set to feature in a match-day squad for the first time since August after overcoming a back injury.
The Cobblers squad will feature two former Yeovil players in Sam Hoskins and Lawson D’Ath, while for the Glovers, Ben Tozer will return to Sixfields for the first time since leaving the Cobblers in the summer.