Cobblers winger Nicky Adams says Tuesday's performance and result at Swindon Town has set the standard for the rest of the season.
Andy Williams' second-half goal at the County Ground helped Town to their first win of the campaign following two defeats and a draw from their opening three fixtures.
Keith Curle's men head to Colchester United on Saturday before playing big-hitters Plymouth and Bradford, and Adams believes their performance at Swindon must be the starting point.
"That's the standard we've set now," he said. "I know people were obviously disappointed after Saturday and we got a bit of stick because it was Macclesfield Town - but they're not a bad side.
"I've been in this league for a few years now and there are no easy games. On another day we should have won the game but we lost so we take the stick but I think everyone saw the reaction on Tuesday.
"The dressing room is full of top players and I think we saw that because Swindon are a good side and that's the standard we've set.
"You're not going to win every game and there will be defeats but if we can continue like that and be solid I think we'll do alright."
Adams knows all about what it takes to win promotion from League Two - and a fast start is not always a necessity as he discovered with the Cobblers in 2015/16 and Bury last season.
"We went through the clips of the Macclesfield game on Monday and there wasn't much wrong," added Adams. "In 40 minutes they had one shot and scored, we probably should have had two.
"So we just said 'look, let's stay positive, it's still early days' and we mentioned that last time we went up we started the season poorly.
"If you look at the games, we battered Walsall, lost 1-0, and should have won against Macclesfield, so we're just getting punished for little errors.
"There's nothing to panic about. It's early days. Everyone said how good we were at Bury last season but we had a horrendous start - we won one game in six.
"So nothing's won or lost in the first few games. We've just got to stay in and around it and build off good performances like Tuesday's."