Aidy Boothroyd says he would gladly have accepted the Cobblers’ current league position if he had been offered it at the start of the season.
Back-to-back league defeats - at Gillingham and Rotherham - have seen Town slip out of the npower League Two top seven.
The team currently sits eighth in the division but are just a point outside the play-off places and four from the automatic slots, with a home game against Rochdale next on the agenda.
Boothroyd was a very unhappy man at the New York Stadium at full-time and lambasted his team for being outworked and outfought by a Rotherham side that ran out 3-1 winners.
But he is pleased with the club’s current standing in a division where four points separate seven clubs in and around the play-off places.
“It doesn’t normally happen (being outfought) so it is rare,” he said.
“Generally we are the team that competes all the way to the end and I didn’t think we did at Rotherham.
“If you start looking at things in isolation then you tend to react wrongly on them.
“I think over the course of the season so far there has been an awful lot of hard work put in.
“Sometimes you do get off days. Sometimes people don’t perform for whatever reason, maybe it’s the travel and the two away games on the bounce, I don’t know but I have to look for a reason for that.
“But when you look at the grand scheme of things, we’re four points off automatic in eighth place and one point off the play-offs and if you’d asked me if I would take that with 16 games to go after the season we had last year I certainly would have, and I think everybody would have.”
Town will be confident for the Rochdale game because their form at Sixfields is so strong - they have won 10 of their 15 matches on home soil so far this season, a record in severe contrast to what has been produced away from home.
The Rotherham loss was their eighth on their travels this season (which is more than 24th-placed Wimbledon have accrued away from home) but Boothroyd is confident of an immediate response.
“Everybody was disappointed (to lose at Rotherham) but you can’t dwell on it for too long,” he said.
“Things happen when you don’t want them to and the best way to deal with them is to bounce back and go and win two or three on the back.”