Cobblers defender Ryan Cresswell is looking forward to testing himself against better opposition following Town’s third pre-season run-out against Burgess Hill Town.
The 27-year-old centre-back played 45 minutes in Saturday’s goalless draw, and also featured in wins over Sileby Rangers and Worthing.
Next up for the Cobblers are friendlies against Derby County and Birmingham City, and Cresswell is ready for the step up in quality.
He said: “We’re all excited for the next couple of games. It’s good to test yourself against good players and that’s what is coming down.
“You look at Derby’s and Birmingham’s squads - they’re really good, they’re strong and they’re really physical and that’s exactly what we want to test ourselves going into the season.
“At the moment it’s all about building up fitness and gelling together on the field.
“It’s important to get minutes into our legs - that’s what we need and that’s what we’ll keep working on.”
Cresswell admitted Saturday’s draw was frustrating after the Cobblers spurned numerous chances, but he was pleased to keep a clean sheet.
“It was good out there,” he said afterwards. “The weather’s nice but the pitch was quite poor - it was bobbly and dry and it was uneven.
“But it was good to get a run out and shake some more of the cobwebs off.
“It’s always frustrating not to win and not to score, but it was a good test physically for us which is why we’re here.
“Confidence is important. It’s always good to keep a clean sheet because it gives the defence and the goalkeeper confidence.
“It’s what we want - we want to keep a clean sheet. That’s the aim and then anything else going in the other end is a bonus.
“We had a tough week’s training and took it into today’s game and when we get back we’ll go again.”
Cresswell also praised how well the club’s new players have settled in following their week-long training camp in Brighton.
He added: “All the new lads are really good lads. The manager has done his homework on the players and he knows what characters they are and they’ve fitted straight in.
“We have a good bunch here now. Everyone’s together and we will all be together now after this game and we’re pushing on for next week.
“Personally, I feel really good. I can’t want until the end of pre-season when you’ve got every day under your belt and your fitness is ready for that first game.”