Ricky Holmes has no doubt that the Cobblers can challenge in Sky Bet League One next season, highlighting the mutual ‘belief’ between the Town squad and manager Chris Wilder.
The Cobblers were promoted from league two back on April 9, clinching the championship a week later, and on Saturday they will be presented with the title trophy following the clash with Luton Town.
We played league one sides at the start of the season, we played a championship side (MK Dons) and should have turned them over here at Sixfields... I can’t see why we can’t keep it on next season and really give it a goCobblers playmaker Ricky Holmes
It has been a remarkable, record-breaking season for Holmes and his team-mates, and the former Portsmouth man believes the team’s progression this season is just the beginning, holding up Burton Albion as the example to follow.
A year ago it was the Brewers who were celebrating claiming the league two title, and this weekend they are one result away from claiming promotion from league one into the championship.
Asked if the Cobblers can maintain their form at a higher level next season, Holmes said: “Of course we can, I think everybody can.
“We played league one sides at the start of the season, we played a championship side in MK Dons and should have turned them over here at Sixfields.
“At their place it was tough, so fair play to them for that, but I can’t see why we can’t keep it on next season and really give it a go.
“You just have to look at Burton, and I think we have the same calibre of players as they have, our work ethic is the same as theirs, so I don’t see why not.”
Holmes believes the Cobblers squad as it stands is already good enough to compete in league one, but he is expecting Wilder to bring in new players and extra quality.
“There is always the chance of improvement, because there are better players than us out there,” said Holmes.
“Hopefully he will keep us together, but of course there are better players playing at a higher league than we are.
“We have proved we can do it in league two, we now have to do it in the league above.
“I am sure he will keep the bulk of the squad together, and we are all under contract.
“The thing is, the gaffer believes in us and we believe in him, and that is what we need for next season.
“Obviously if there’s a bit more ability and quality somewhere else, then he is going to take it on, but that is football.”
Holmes has enjoyed a great season and scored some brilliant goals along the way, with the first of them proving to be the winner in the 4-3 victory against Luton at Kenilworth Road back in December.
He had only been on the pitch for a matter of seconds, coming on as a substitute to make his first league appearance since August due to injury, before letting fly with a stunning 25-yard strike.
It was one of many special memories from a special season, and Holmes is looking forward to the rematch this weekend, insisting that the players’ focus is on winning and bagging the three points rather than the trophy presentation.
“This game has come at a good time,” said Holmes. “Luton are not far down the road and it was a great game down at their place, I think that was one of the best games we played all season.
“They managed to peg us back, and we managed to get the win, but we know what’s at stake on Saturday at the end of the game when we get to lift the trophy.
“But I think it will be much better to do that on a winning note, so we will be going for the win as we have done all season. We need to win to really celebrate and make it a great day.
“We will get the result I am sure, and then we go to Portsmouth next week, and we want to keep this unbeaten run going.”