Aidy Boothroyd said the Cobblers ‘played like men’ as they moved to within a point of the npower League Two play-offs with a comfortable win over Fleetwood.
Town ran out 3-1 winners at Sixfields thanks to goals from Jake Robinson, Clive Platt and an Alex Marrow own goal to record their sixth victory in their past seven home league games.
Boothroyd’s men now sit ninth in the table and as well as being just a point outside the top seven, they are now only four away from Rotherham United in third place.
Northampton have hit a rich seam of form in the past month but faced their most difficult assignment since the last home loss - to Cheltenham on December 8 - against a Fleetwood side who many feel will secure back-to-back promotions this season.
They also went into the game with the division’s best away record and a win at Port Vale on their most recent trip, but the Cobblers made light of those statistics with an emphatic victory.
“It was a benchmark game for us to see how far we’ve come against a top seven team,” said Boothroyd. “They beat us last time we played them but it was a very good performance today and I felt we played like men.
“Our home form is the second best in the league but our away form in 22nd, so obviously we need to address that if we are to get into the play-offs.
“But we’ve got a very good record here and we were worthy winners today. We’ve come a long way in a short space of time and now we need to build on it.
“We’ll always have goals in us but the only disappointment was not keeping a clean sheet. You have to get into the habit of doing that is you want to get into the top three.”
Boothroyd also confirmed after the match that Emyr Huws, who missed the game with a dead leg has returned to Manchester City following the completion of his loan spell.
Huws’ return to the Etihad Stadium means Wigan goalkeeper Lee Nicholls is now the only loan player on the books at Sixfields.
The club have also made Anthony Charles available for transfer and have confirmed they will not be renewing his contract when it expires at the end of the current season.