Cobblers boss Chris Wilder believes the new Sky Bet League Two is going to be ‘an open competition’.
The fixtures for the new campaign were released on Wednesday, and Wilder is excited at the challenge in front of him and his team.
The manager is confident the Cobblers will be in and amongst the promotion pack, but admits there are plenty of other clubs that will be feeling exactly the same.
Wilder sees Portsmouth, Luton Town and Oxford United as the ‘big three’ in the division, and when you throw in the likes of relegated quartet Leyton Orient, Notts County, Yeovil Town and Crawley Town, factor in the other clubs already in situ such as Plymouth Argyle, Wycombe Wanderers and Cambridge United, as well as promoted pair Barnet and Bristol Rovers - who the Cobblers travel to on the opening day - there is going to be a lot of competition.
“We have said before that we know this is going to be a tough league,” said Wilder.
“There are teams that have recruited very well in the summer.
“It is going to be an open competition, and we would like to think that we are going to be in there.”
Like all the club’s supporters, Wilder scanned the fixtures on their release for the big games ahead, those against the likes of Pompey and the Hatters, but he feels it is going to be how the Cobblers maintain their form in the ‘lesser’ games that will determine their fate.
“You can look at the fixtures and what’s ahead, but from a manager’s point of view, I have to make sure we don’t get too carried away, and that we get off to a good start,” said the Cobblers boss.
“That is what we will be looking to do, but there are some great fixtures there.
“There are some games to look forward to, there are some big teams in this division, but it is just as important you concentrate on the other games as well.
“I think the big games take care of themselves, and they have done during my time here, especially with our crowd that gets behind us.
“I look back to the Portsmouth game last season, and the Luton games at home, we had great attendances and really positive atmospheres for the players to go and play in.”