Chris Wilder says Barnet will be ‘revved up’ for their Sky Bet League Two clash with the Cobblers at The Hive on Tuesday night (ko 7.45pm).
Northampton travel to north London with a 100 per cent record after two league games to date, while Barnet can also boast a 100 per cent record - two defeats from two.
But Wilder knows that pointless start doesn’t mean the Cobblers are in for an easy night at the home of last season’s National Conference champions, indeed, he believes it means exactly the opposite.
While the Cobblers have enjoyed wins at Bristol Rovers and at home to Exeter City, the Bees have lost at Leyton Orient and at home to Wycombe Wanderers, but Wilder feels they have been unfortunate and is expecting the home team to ‘come after’ his players.
“This is going to be a really tough game,” said the Town manager ahead of the Cobblers’ first visit to Barnet’s new home ground. “As I have said about the way I manage, and the way I talk to you guys in the media, I am not joking about that.
“We are not kidding ourselves, and this is going to be a physical game.
“Barnet did outstandingly well last season. They were a team that wouldn’t have been favourites to win that division (the Conference) last season, and they led all the way through.
“That is some achievement to lead a division from start to finish, and this is going to be a difficult game for us.”
Barnet are managed by the no-nonsense Martin Allen, and Wilder is a fan of the man known in football circles as ‘Mad Dog’.
“I know the manager quite well, and I have a lot of respect for him,” said the Cobblers boss.
“On his CV there are promotions on it left, right and centre, and he has managed at some decent clubs.
“He wouldn’t have liked the fact that they have played well and not won, and they have played well, they were unfortunate on Saturday not to beat a decent Wycombe side.
“He won’t have enjoyed that they have not been winning games of football, so they will be revved up, they will be passionate, and they will be competitive.
“They are going to come after us, because they know we are a good side, and they will come after us because we have started the season in great fashion in terms of the league results.
“They will come after us because they have lost two games, and they will not like that situation.
“This is going to be a really tough game, as is, if not all, the majority of league two games this season.
“The game starts level and we have to make sure that we earn the right to play and control the football, but we are going to have to really work hard and compete in every inch of that pitch to get a result.”
Allen for his part is gearing his Barnet team up for their third tough test in a row following their promotion.
Having already played a team relegated from league one, and another that was beaten in the league two play-off final last season, Allen says Barnet are now gearing up to face a team he believes will be in the play-off positions come the end of the current campaign.
“We knew these tests were going to be coming along; we knew that it would be difficult at times, but it’s how you face it, walk through it and deal with it that counts,” said the former Leicester City, MK Dons and Gillingham boss.
“These players are a great bunch of lads - you can tell from training on Monday morning that everyone can’t wait for the game against Northampton now.
“Northampton had a fantastic end to last season and nearly made the play-offs.
“Chris Wilder is a fantastic manager who’s got a really good team together, and I fully expect them to be right up in that top seven come the end of the season.
“So it’s another really big test for us, and we’re all looking forward to it.”
The Cobblers are likely to be without central defender Zander Diamond, who will be replaced in the starting line-up by Rod McDonald - who will make his full Football League debut - while Brendan Moloney and Evan Horwood are both still set to be missing.