Sixfields new boy Dean Bowditch has stressed the importance of developing a ‘winning mentality’ right from the start of pre-season if the Cobblers want to improve on last season’s 16th placed finish.
Though pre-season is largely about working on fitness, winning games and building confidence will do no harm to Northampton’s chances in the long run, and Saturday’s 8-2 win over Sileby Rangers was an ideal start.
They will be hoping for more of the same in their next five friendlies, starting against Birmingham City’s Development Squad on Friday, unlike last year when they were beaten by two non-league clubs in Nuneaton and Brackley Town which set the wheels in motion for later struggles.
Bowditch was pleased with Saturday’s first run-out, even if the net eluded him, as he gets to grips with life at Sixfields.
And the former MK Dons man, who signed at the end of June, has already seen enough from his new team-mates to believe they are capable of better things this time around.
“Absolutely, you need to improve on every year,” said the 31-year-old. “I know at the start of last season it was looking really promising.
It’s the best job in the world for me. I’ve loved it since being a kid so if you have to go running around like a lunatic just to get fit then I’ll do that every year of my life.
“Teams always go through a bit of a bad spell and it’s about how you react to that, so hopefully we can start well again this year and maintain that.
“I know the manager is trying to build a squad which can do that so bring on the first game!”
The Cobblers often struggled for consistency last season and found themselves unable to string together a run of results, causing them to flirt with relegation before eventually limping to 16th.
As one of nine new faces through the door, Bowditch will be desperate to rectify that once the new Sky Bet League One season gets under way.
He continued: “You need a winning mentality if we want to achieve things this year. We need to make sure we go into every game wanting to win and be professional.
“You saw that on Saturday, some of the experienced lads helped some of the youngsters through and the young lads did really well themselves.
“I was really pleased with it and it was a good day.”
As well as six pre-season friendlies, the Cobblers are also currently in Spain for a hard week of training in a bid to get up to speed in time for next month’s opener at Shrewsbury Town.
Speaking before jetting off for the Oliva Nova complex, Bowditch said: “I’m not looking forward to the running in 35 degrees heat!
“But it’s the best job in the world for me. I’ve loved it since being a kid so if you have to go running around like a lunatic just to get fit then I’ll do that every year of my life.
“I’ve always worked hard. Like everyone else who wears a Northampton shirt, they work hard for themselves and the team.
“I know it’s in Spain and a lot of people will say we’re lucky but it’s part and parcel of the team bonding and making sure you work hard to get your fitness up ready for that first game.”