A fine individual performance by Sam Hoskins didn’t go unnoticed by Alan Knill on Saturday with the Cobblers assistant manager full of praise for the young striker after Town’s 3-0 win over Barnet.
Hoskins has struggled to nail down a regular spot in the Northampton team this season but he marked his return to the starting line-up with a lively performance against Barnet which was rewarded with a fifth-minute goal, his seventh of the season.
The 22-year-old’s pace and movement caused Barnet constant problems, as noted by Knill who explained why they opted to start Hoskins in place of Nicky Adams.
“We just wanted a little bit of pace at the top of the pitch and Sammy is a really good player,” said Town’s assistant.
“He’s been electric in training for the last few weeks but unfortunately for a lot of the players who have been out of the team, when the team on the pitch is winning it’s tough to change it.
“But we just felt we needed to mix things up a little bit after Monday’s game against Accrington and a few players looked a little tired so we gave Sammy his chance and I thought he was excellent.
“He’s got such great pace and his movement is good and he’s always nice and sharp and bright so hopefully now this will kick him on.”
The fact that Hoskins struggles for game time is an indication of just how strong this current Cobblers squad is, with Ricky Holmes also starring against Barnet on his first start of the season.
Knill continued: “That’s why you build a squad and you hope that it wins and you hope it keeps those players that aren’t playing out of the team, but there comes a time when you have a lot of games and some look a little tired.
“You’ve got to have confidence in what’s behind the first team. Sammy’s been waiting his chance because in training week in week out he’s looked really sharp.
“He’s just been unfortunate that the team’s done so well and the players in the team have done so well but today we gave him that chance.
“And it’s the same with Ricky. We all know about Ricky’s ability. He’s been out for ages but his performances on Saturday just showed everyone what we’ve been missing and the minutes that he got will just make him stronger.
“We’re delighted because the squad is in a really good position at the moment and no matter what happens to the players on the pitch, we know that we’ve got a bit of strength behind it.”
Knill revealed he was never comfortable on Saturday despite the 3-0 scoreline, adding: “It’s often difficult watching from the touchline because we’ve been three up before and it’s gone back to 3-2 so it’s very difficult to relax and watch the team.
“Some of the play you have to applaud but you’re always wary and if they get a goal the whole situation changes, so from our point of view it’s a great three points.”