Rob Page is backing the players who were ‘off their game’ in Saturday’s disappointing 3-1 Sixfields defeat to Millwall to shake off the disappointment and come back firing in Tuesday night’s derby date at Peterborough United (ko 7.45pm).
Town were beaten by the Lions on Saturday to suffer a second home Sky Bet League One defeat in a row, with all of the visitors’ goals down to individual defensive errors.
Zander Diamond and Brendan Moloney, who have both been in superb form this season, were the players who suffered the most noticeable lapses to gift the visitors goals, but Page was unhappy with the performances of a few other players as well.
But he says it won’t be a case of wholesale changes as Page prepares his team for the first Cobblers-Posh showdown in more than seven years, as the Town boss is expecting the players in question to respond in a positive manner.
“Everybody is going to make a mistake in football, and it is how they react from it,” said the Cobblers boss.
“Some of the players that weren’t quite at it on Saturday, and we carried too many, there was too many off their game, some of them have been our most consistent players.
“If you dropped everybody that makes a mistake you would struggle to play a team.
“Sometimes it is about putting an arm around them, they realise they have made mistakes, but they are men and it is now how they recover from that and react.”
The Cobblers boss will be forced into at least one change as Jak McCourt is suspended for the trip to London Road after his dismissal for two bookings against Millwall.
With Matt Taylor also banned, it means two of the team’s key midfielders this season are sidelined, and Page now must decided which way he goes about reshaping the team.
The obvious man to move into central midfield is Joel Byrom, who was a regular last season but has yet to start a game in the league this term.
It’s not ideal for a player that has played just 109 minutes of football this season, and none since August 30 as is the case with Byrom, to be thrown into the heat of a local derby.
But Page is confident whoever gets the nod will be able to cope.
“With two suspended it gives other people an opportunity to come in and claim the jersey,” said the Cobblers boss.
“With how we keep the players, and how we maintain their fitness through the week with John (Harbin, performance coach), they will be ready.
“Using Joel Byrom as an example, he has had limited game time but I could trust somebody like him to go in and give a good account of himself.
“Just like I could with Alfie Potter, and like I could with any of the players that haven’t had many minutes.
“We have the players there, and they are raring to go because they know they have a point to prove. If they get that opportunity they will grab it with both hands I am sure.”