Chris Wilder “never felt in danger” against York City on Saturday after the Cobblers boss pinpointed his side’s “balance” as the key to claiming a 2-0 win over the League Two strugglers.
The Cobblers have been guilty of over-committing men forward at times this season, last month’s win over Morecambe springs to mind when Northampton’s enthusiasm to attack and go on the hunt for further goals when leading 3-0 left gaps for the visitors to exploit.
On several occasions, Morecambe found themselves with three-on-two opportunities and only a lack of ruthlessness in the final third prevented them from perhaps taking something from the game.
That wasn’t the case on Saturday, though, as the Cobblers dominated both possession and territory once they hit the front, admittedly aided by Luke Hendrie’s dismissal, with York restricted to speculative long-range attempts.
That came as great satisfaction for Wilder who was also delighted with the two goals scored by John-Joe O’Toole and Marc Richards.
“We have to get the balance right,” he said afterwards. “We went three up against Morecambe and then went a bit gung-ho but we never felt in danger on Saturday.
“We feel that when we break it up we’re a dangerous side to play against because we’ve got players like Ricky (Holmes) and Lee (Martin) who can run forward really well and drive at the opposition.
“I thought both goals were good in different ways. It was a great corner routine where we’ve cleared the area and John-Joe has timed his run and it’s a great delivery.
“The second was a great counter-attack. We’re a little bit disappointed that we didn’t add to our tally but now we just have to roll the wins out and a 2-0 home win in the position that we’re in is a good effort, especially on top of the conditions that we had to play in.”
Northampton’s strength in depth this season means players like Nicky Adams and Sam Hoskins are struggling to even get on the pitch in recent weeks, but for Wilder, it’s all about churning out the wins regardless of the manner and he’s not interested in giving players game time for the sake of it.
“It’s a difficult one for managers,” he added. “You want to get players onto the pitch but it’s not a popularity contest, it’s not about getting players onto the pitch to give them a little bit of game time.
“We’ve got some real good players who can’t even get on the pitch and a couple who are decent and are not getting in the group, but they understand that.
“We protected Marc Richards on Saturday because we know he’s a really valuable and important player for us so it was a good time to take him off and get Nicky Adams onto the pitch at 2-0 up.
“But we have to get the game won. Football’s just a funny situation where I could’ve made another situation, then we might lose a player and then all of a sudden we could jeopardise the result.
“It’s not being negative. It’s just making sure that, at any stage of the season, we just get the three points because they’re hard to get.
“We have to work for them in all different environments in different games, home and away, in different conditions right the way through a nine-month season.
“They’re hard to come by but we’re gaining them on a regular basis and there’s a good feel about the place at the moment.”
Ryan Cresswell is another payer who has found himself on the sidelines recently but he played almost an hour on Saturday after replacing Zander Diamond, who was forced off in the first half following a clash of heads, much to the Scotsman’s frustration.
Wilder added: “Zander took a whack and the doctor made the decision to take him off and we’ll have to look at him.
“He was a little bit disappointed to come off because it was a collision and he’s a brave boy and he went for it as we expect him to do.
“But we can’t risk anything as a football club to put the boy at risk. The doctor is the expert, he makes the decision and he made the decision to take him off and we have to respect that.”