Cambridge United boss Shaun Derry is looking forward to ‘a great game’ at Sixfields on Saturday, insisting his team are not going to be ‘making up the numbers’ against Sky Bet League Two leaders Cobblers.
Derry accepts Northampton are where they deserve to be in the table after a ‘remarkable’ run of form, but he insists his team is more than capable of ending the Cobblers’ 13-match unbeaten run.
Cambridge will be backed by around 900 supporters at a sell-out Sixfields, and Derry wants his players to put on a show for those travelling fans after a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Exeter City at the Abbey Stadium last Saturday.
Despite that defeat, Cambridge are still very much in the mix for a play-off place.
They are down in 13th place, but are only three points behind seventh-placed AFC Wimbledon, and Derry said: “I want a response from last weekend and I want us to take the game to Northampton.
“I don’t want us to be making up the numbers ready for their run-in to winning the title.
“I’m sure Chris (Wilder, Northampton boss) wouldn’t expect anything less from a side that I manage.
“This is a great game and all the players should be right up for it, I sure am. It’s a huge game for both teams.”
Derry is a former team-mate of Town boss Chris Wilder, the pair playing together at Notts County, and he has been mightily impressed with he job he has done at Sixfields.
“I think you’ve got to take your hat off to Chris Wilder,” said Derry, who took over at Cambridge following the sacking of Richard Money in November.
“I know what type of character he is and he has been pretty resolute in the way he has managed Northampton this year through some deep troubles, I’d guess.
“They’re a good team and they’ve had a lot of money spent on them in the January window.
“They’ve really boosted their strikeforce, livened it up a little bit and reaped the rewards for it.
“Fair play to Chris, he has had a quite remarkable season. The level of consistency that the team and the staff around him have shown has been remarkable.
“We’re 20-odd points off them and that tells you about a certain gap between the likes of ourselves and Northampton Town this season, but for us I think it’s about progression and we’ve sure seen that in the last four months.”
Cambridge have a chance to become the first team to do the double over the Cobblers this weekend, having won the reverse fixture at the Abbey Stadium in October.
The Us were 2-1 winners on a day when Lawson D’Ath was red-carded for Town.
That defeat was the last time the Cobblers were beaten on their travels this season, and Town haven’t lost at home since December 19 when they were beaten 2-1 by Portsmouth.