In-form Hoskins determined to hold on to Cobblers first team place

Sam Hoskins celebrates with Marc Richards after the Cobblers' opening goal in their 2-1 win over Hartlepool last Saturday
Sam Hoskins celebrates with Marc Richards after the Cobblers' opening goal in their 2-1 win over Hartlepool last Saturday

Much has been made of the fact that since defenders Shaun Brisley and Darnell Furlong were signed on loan, the Cobblers haven’t lost a match in Sky Bet League Two.

The pair have certainly had a huge impact and shored up what had become a creaking defence, but at the other end of the pitch there has been another telling factor.

Town’s six-match unbeaten league run has also coincided with a starting place for livewire forward Sam Hoskins.

Prior to the 1-0 win over Oxford United on September 12, the former Southampton and Yeovil man had been mainly used as an impact substitute.

He did start in the 2-0 defeat at Barnet in August, and also in Capital One Cup and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy matches, but he wasn’t properly given his big starting chance until that date with Oxford, and he hasn’t looked back.

Hoskins scored the only goal in the 1-0 win over the Us, and followed it up with another goal in the 4-2 victory at Morecambe a week later.

Since then the goals have dried up a little, but Hoskins has kept his place in the team and has become an integral part of a busy and hard-working Cobblers attacking line.

The 22-year-old is again set to start in Saturday’s match at Cambridge United (ko 3pm), and he admits that now he is in the team, he intends on staying there.

“Getting a regular place in the team was a main objective for me, to come here and get as many games as I can under my belt, and at the moment I am in the team,” said Hoskins, who earned himself a 0ne-year contract at Sixfields after impressing on trial in the summer.

“We are getting some good results, and hopefully I can keep my place.

“I knew I was going to have to be patient, and take my chances when they came.

“I think I did that when I was coming off the bench and doing well, and waiting for that starting place.

“Now I have got it, I don’t want to give it up.”

And he added: “The manager said to me that I was doing everything I needed to do when I was coming off the bench.

“He said to just keep doing what I was doing, and to keep patient, and that is what I had to do.

“I had to keep doing my job when I got on the pitch, and it is good to have that starting place now.”

There’s no getting away from the fact that Town’s unbeaten run has coincided with Hoskins’ promotion to first-team starter, but the player himself is playing down his influence, insisting the improvement has been a team effort, and that fielding a pretty consistent team has been key.

“It is about gelling together as a team,” said Hoskins.

“It is good when the team, the core group, stays the same and we are not changing the team around massively every game.

“That means you get used to players, how they play, and how to play with them, but it is a team thing, you can’t pick out individuals for why we are doing so well at the moment.

“It is a collective thing, and hopefully we can carry it on.”

The Cobblers are aiming to stretch their unbeaten run to seven games on Saturday when they make the short trip to mid-table Cambridge United.

And Hoskins says the confidence and belief in the team is currently sky high, and that they can’t wait to get started at the Abbey Stadium.

“I think we are playing some really good football at the moment, and the lads can’t wait for the next game,” said the diminutive frontman.

“It is a big game for us, but we are confident in what we are doing and how we are playing, and we can’t wait to get out there and hopefully get another three points.”

At the Abbey Stadium, Town are likely to make just one change to the team that saw off Hartlepool United 2-1 last weekend, with Lawson D’Ath set to replace Chris Hackett, who will drop to the bench.