Clarke Carlisle insists he has not joined the Cobblers to be part of a team that simply makes up the npower League Two numbers this season.
But the central defender, 33, has stressed the importance of focusing on each game on a match-by-match basis to ensure the team stays in sight of a genuine bid for promotion.
Carlisle made a second debut for the club in Tuesday night’s 3-0 win over Morecambe, a result that has lifted the team to ninth in the division.
They are now just a point outside the play-offs and three off third-placed Cheltenham with a game against Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium next on the agenda.
Although Carlisle spoke with a confidence about the prospect of the club being involved in the race to go up this season, he maintained the only thoughts being entertained at the moment concerned Oxford.
“I’ve not come here to be an also-ran,” he said. “Expectation shifts in football on a daily basis and that, really, is for everyone else to speculate about, we’ve just got to concentrate on our jobs.
“It’s a terrible cliché but we need to prepare for Oxford on Saturday and make sure we maintain our performance levels.
“Once you start getting too far ahead you take your eyes off the here and now and that’s when performances start to drift.”
Town scored twice through Ben Tozer’s long throw-in, a tactic that has produced 11 goals for the club this season and has become a staple of their game plan.
Carlisle, though, says it was a pleasure to defend against the long bomb when he turned out for York City against Northampton in the league meeting between the sides at Bootham Crescent earlier this month.
“I actually love defending against Tozer’s long throw,” he said. “It’s a monster of a throw but that’s pretty much my game.
“Other teams are really struggling to deal with it because of the way B (Akinfenwa) attacks the ball and because Kelv (Langmead) is so good at attacking the ball too.
“Teams can’t cope with that, they can’t cope with the variety we have with that.
“Usually you get your centre-halves to lock off the main threat but we can come at you from so many different ways it makes it very difficult to deal with.”