Boss Chris Wilder Chris Wilder has warned his table-topping Cobblers players they ‘are there to be shot at’ and that every team will be ‘raising their game’ against them between now and the end of the season.
The Cobblers are targeting an 11th straight Sky Bet League Two win when they travel to Hartlepool United on Saturday, and although the north east side are struggling at the wrong end of the table, Wilder says their league position is irrelevant.
With his team a massive 12 points clear at the top of the table, Wilder knows the Cobblers are the prize scalp for every opponent, and will be from now until the end of the campaign.
“We are there to be shot at, and teams will raise their game against us, and will be looking to put an end to our magnificent run,” said Wilder.
“Hartlepool will be the same on Saturday, and we have to overcome every challenge.
“We have to match the opposition work-rate and endeavour, and hopefully we can grow into the game and I thought we did that at York on Tuesday.
“I thought we controlled that game in a first-class way, and I again didn’t agree with their manager saying there was not a lot between the sides. I thought we matched their start, and as soon as we scored there was only going to be one winner.”
Craig Hignett is the new manager at Hartlepool, who sacked Ronnie Moore two weeks ago after a run of poor form left them in deep relegation trouble for the second season in a row.
Pools have games in hand on their rivals, but are currently just two places and one point above the relegation zone, and have won just one of their past seven games, losing five of those.
In fact, they have won only two games in all competitions in their past 15 games, and on paper the Cobblers will be massive favourites to extend their club record winning run.
But Wilder is wary of Hignett’s side, who rely heavily on their 10-goal top scorer Billy Paynter.
“Hartlepool are fighting for their lives and a new manager has come in, so the players will want to impress him,” said the Cobblers boss.
“They have had a couple of difficult games, but they have won a couple as well, and by all accounts were unfortunate not to come away from Luton on Saturday with a result (they lost 2-1).
“I went to watch them in Ronnie Moore’s last game (a 2-1 home defeat to Stevenage), and they didn’t get off to the best of starts, but they have some good players.
“They have an experienced boy at the top of the pitch (Paynter) who knows his way around the game, and they have some really good young players.
“I am sure that the new manager will be trying whatever he needs to, whether that is putting an arm round them, or barking at them to get them going.
“Like York, like Wycombe, and a few of the others teams recently, they will be the ones that want to stop us from progressing, and we have to overcome their strengths in what will be another tough and competitive game.”