Cobblers boss Chris Wilder hailed the “unbelievable energy levels” of his team after they completed their hectic 21-day period with an impressive haul of 17 points out of a possible 21, a run which has taken them to the verge of promotion in Sky Bet League Two.
Those rush of games always felt the defining period in Northampton’s season and that has seemingly proven the case with Wilder’s men now boasting what is surely an insurmountable 21-point lead over fourth-placed Accrington and 13 ahead of second-placed Oxford United.
During that run of fixtures, the Cobblers have beaten fellow promotion chasers Oxford, Leyton Orient, Wycombe Wanderers and Carlisle United, while also defeating York City and earning draws against Hartlepool and AFC Wimbledon.
Although they had already shown glimpses of their supremacy over the rest of League Two, few would have predicted Northampton to come through that run in such emphatic manner, especially when factoring in all the travelling they’ve had to do, but time and again Wilder and his players have defied the odds.
Their most recent three points were notched up on Saturday as John-Joe O’Toole’s brace plus a goal apiece for James Collins and John Marquis guided the Cobblers to a 4-1 win at Carlisle.
It was a game that epitomised both Northampton’s attacking ruthlessness and incredible work ethic as they once again proved too good for a side with promotion hopes of their own.
“It’s nothing else apart from graft, honesty, endeavour and ability that has put us in the position that we’re in,” said Wilder.
“Even though people talked about the last two games and the last two results as disappointments, I didn’t really see it that way, especially for the travelling we’ve done and the quality of opposition we’ve played.
“We’ve played teams at the top, we’ve played Oxford, we’ve played Leyton Orient and Carlisle who want to get into the play-offs.
“We’ve played everybody and the energy levels have been unbelievable so full credit to the boys for the professionalism they’ve shown.
“You don’t get handed those points, you don’t get handed those wins and you don’t get handed those performance by just turning up.
“They put a hell of a lot of effort and work in on the training ground and into the preparation and so do we and I think we’re happy that we’ve come and comfortably won this game 4-1.
“We were 4-1 up with 30 seconds to go and Collo was chasing the ball down in the corner and that just epitomises the work ethic and the commitment that these players are giving each other and showing for the football club.
“You have to work hard for it and we’ve worked extremely hard for it.”
After the full-time whistle on Saturday, a decent number of Carlisle supports applauded Northampton’s players off the field in appreciation of the league leaders’ performance, something which Wilder acknowledged.
He added: “I appreciate that from the knowledgeable football people and that’s happened at a couple of grounds now recently.
“I gave them a little bit of a clap when I came off because I thought that was fair play by them.
“Sometimes people are a bit bitter in the game about the success that you have and people are a bit bitter when you come to their place and you take the points but that was decent of them.
“I’m glad that our boys appreciated that and showed the respect back to their fans as well.”