Boss Hasselbaink hoping home comforts can lift Town’s ‘fragile confidence’ ahead of Latics test

Deep in thought: Hasselbaink has much to ponder as the Cobblers prepare to face Wigan. Picture by Kirsty Edmonds
Deep in thought: Hasselbaink has much to ponder as the Cobblers prepare to face Wigan. Picture by Kirsty Edmonds
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Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink admits he faces a challenge to lift his side’s ‘fragile confidence’ ahead of New Year Day’s visit of Sky Bet League One leaders Wigan Athletic.

Northampton have conceded three goals in each of their last two games, losing 3-0 at Doncaster and 3-1 at Portsmouth, and now face a huge task to overcome table-topping Latics in their first game of 2018.

Town will be hoping to repeat their efforts from the last game at Sixfields when they stopped in-form Blackburn Rovers, who were in similarly rip-roaring form at the time, in their tracks with a 1-1 draw, and their lowly league position, 22nd and five points from safety, means time is of the essence and every point is vital.

Wigan, currently two points clear at the top having been relegated from the Championship last term, smashed seven past Oxford United just nine days ago but have since been held to successive goalless draws at home by Shrewsbury and Charlton.

“Let’s hope it’s a good time to play them,” said Hasselbaink. “We have to lift the players and I will need the crowd to do that as well.

“It won’t be an easy match but if our 12th man is there then we will have a better chance. It won’t be easy but we’re definitely going to do our best.

You need to keep on working hard and keep doing the right things and then it will change, but at the moment things are going against us.

“Confidence is fragile and we need to regroup. We’ll get together and try to get the confidence back up. Something needs to go for us but that doesn’t mean you don’t stop.

“You need to keep on going and find your own luck. You need to keep on working hard and keep doing the right things and then it will change, but at the moment things are going against us.

“We look to pick up points everywhere. At the moment it’s better for us to play at home and to see our fans and to give it a go.

“Saturday was disappointing. We started ever so well and we wanted to get the three points there but it wasn’t meant to be.”

The Cobblers are expected to make several additions to their squad soon after the transfer window opens but Hasselbaink again refused to be drawn into transfer talk , instead placing all of his focus on the visit of Wigan.

“Look, let’s just concentrate on Wigan,” he stressed. “We want to do well against them and try to get some more points on the board and hopefully we’ll do that.

“What happens after, happens after, but let’s concentrate on the most important thing and that is Wigan.

“Obviously we have made our plans but that’s irrelevant at the moment because we still have a match to play and it’s a very important match.

“We wouldn’t be doing our job properly if we didn’t have a plan but we’ve got to concentrate on Wigan and then after that you can ask me questions.”