Cobblers boss Dean Austin will not tolerate any slacking off from his players now they have set the standard after Saturday’s 2-0 win over Plymouth, stating that ‘application, attitude and desire’ should all be ‘prerequisites’ for any professional footballer.
Northampton’s fight and commitment to the cause has been questioned at times this season, particularly towards the end of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s reign when they failed to win 10 successive games and suffered several heavy home defeats in the process.
But it was all change on Saturday when they overwhelmed seventh-placed Plymouth Argyle with a dominant, comprehensive performance that yielded a deserved victory, rekindling their hopes of staying up this season.
Ever since he took over, Austin has emphasised the importance of his players ‘playing for the badge’ and showing desire to win matches, and it appears he’s getting the response he wanted.
“I said to the boys on my first day, when I took over from Jimmy, that there are prerequisites in football that I’m not going to mention ever again because I don’t think they should need reminding,” he said.
“You shouldn’t have to talk about application, you shouldn’t have to talk about having good attitudes and you shouldn’t have to talk about having the desire to win games of football.
You shouldn’t have to talk about application, you shouldn’t have to talk about having good attitudes and you shouldn’t have to talk about having the desire to win games of football.
“For me, as a footballer, those are the prerequisites of the game. If you do those, no-one can ever fault you and then once we bring our game and our methods of how we want to try and play, we’ve got good enough players to win plenty of games of football and that’s what I’ve told the lads.”
Austin was also full of praise for the home supporters at Sixfields who got right behind their team from the first whistle of Saturday’s clash, adding: “The players gave the fans something to feed off.
“You could sense that the atmosphere was good but the players showed them the way and got them going.
“At the end of the day, the boys have got to get themselves in credit with the supporters.”
The only disappointment to come out of the game was the margin of victory after Sam Hoskins squandered three good chances while Matt Crooks, John-Joe O’Toole and Daniel Powell also failed to make it a far more comfortable afternoon.
“I don’t think Plymouth could have complained had we won by four or five to be honest,” concurred Austin.
“When you’re missing chances at 1-0, you’re always kind of worrying a little bit because they’re not going to not get a chance during the game so you’re wondering, but credit to the boys, I thought we were magnificent.”
Austin was also asked about the captaincy and why he gave the armband to Ash Taylor and not David Buchanan, explaining: “It’s nothing to do with Buchs at all – he’s a captain anyway.
“He’s a warrior and he’s a captain but it’s just something that I wanted to do and it’s also part of Ash’s leaning and moving himself forward.”