Cobblers boss Aidy Boothroyd has stressed the importance of building on Saturday’s comeback draw at Torquay with a win over Aldershot at Sixfields this weekend.
The Shots are struggling at the foot of npower League Two, with just three points separating them and the drop zone.
That position was enhanced with a 4-2 win over Rochdale last time out but it came at a cost, with right-back Ben Herd shown an injury-time red card that will rule him out of the game at Northampton.
But even a full-strength Aldershot side would go into the game as underdogs, and Boothroyd feels it is vital his team, still four points outside the play-offs with a game to go until the league’s halfway point, close that gap before their double-header of away trips between Christmas and New Year.
“I’m really pleased when we start talking about things like the play-offs because a little light goes on in my head,” said Boothroyd, who takes his team to Wimbledon on Boxing Day and Gillingham on December 29.
“We went to a really good team in Torquay on Saturday, in horrible conditions, and we got a good result.
“The fact that we’re even talking about getting in the top seven is a credit to all the players and to all the staff because we’ve worked very hard to get to this position.
“But it’s pointless working this hard if you don’t maintain it, go beyond it and go even further ahead.”
Town showed good spirit to come back from a goal down to take a point at Plainmoor, with goalscorer Kelvin Langmead suffering a facial injury in the act of scoring an injury-time equaliser.
That spirit was matched by a better all-round defensive performance, with the team holding their shape much better without the ball than they had in their previous two games.
“Kelvin is a fantastic player for us and he’s very consistent,” said Boothroyd.
“He’s willing to get his nose broken for the cause and you need players like that.
“Then we’ve got players like Chris Hackett who is not naturally a defensive player but he’s willing to get back and tackle back and you need that.
“You need all the team to be defending at the right times and attacking at the right times if you’re going to be successful.
“I don’t think we’re too far away from being a really good team.
“Hopefully we can get one or two back from injury soon and then shift one or two around as well.”