Chris Wilder is keen for his not to rest on their laurels and kick-on with more consistent performances after the Cobblers returned to winning ways with a 3-2 victory over Colchester United on Tuesday night.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin put the Cobblers ahead inside eight minutes before Macauley Bonne levelled things up at half-time.
Northampton regained the lead shortly after the restart through a superb solo goal from Ryan Watson but again Bonne was on hand to drag United level.
The game appeared destined for a penalty shoot-out but, with five minutes to go, Cobblers skipper Marc Richards diverted a shot from Sam Hoskins into the net to take Town through to the second round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
It was also their first win in four games.
Wilder said afterwards:”I thought it was a really good performance and it was an excellent test for us.
“Colchester are an athletic side who like to pass the ball so we had to be patient and they had the outstanding player on the pitch in Callum Harriott.
“But we gave as good as we got, played some decent stuff at times and scored some cracking goals and we’re delighted to be through to the next round.
“To score three goals at home is pleasing, especially the way we got ourselves back in front each time.
“We always looked dangerous and and it was a really good effort and I’m delighted for the players and the supporters.
“I thought we had a lot more energy about us, we were more aggressive in our play, we were more competitive and the shape was good.
“As soon as we changed to a three in midfield I thought that suited us a lot more.
“They were getting a bit too much of the ball for my liking.”
Wilder singled out Watson for praise following the midfielder’s brilliant goal when he ran from inside his own half before unleashing a powerful low drive into the bottom corner.
“It was a great goal from Ryan Watson,” he added.
“I’m delighted for him - that’s the reason why we brought him to the club.
“He brings that powerful driving midfield play, and hopefully that’ll give him the confidence to push on.
“There were a lot of good individual performances.”
Having been outspoken in his criticism of the busy schedule, Wilder is now relieved that the fixtures are easing up as he targets consistency.
He added: “I’m delighted for the players, nine games in 28 days is a lot for them and the supporters as well.
“We’re trying to produce decent performances on Saturdays and Tuesdays and I think we did that tonight. There was a lot more energy about us.
“It was a good team performance, we’ve hardly been on the training ground because of the schedule.
“We want to work on certain things in training but it’s been a case of play and recover and go again but every manager is in the same situation and now we’re looking forward to one game a week and hopefully the players will be.
“This is a big week for us and we need to get some consistency into our game. We should have more of a settled side with just one game a week now.”