Boss Page expecting Cobblers to face a fired-up Bradford City
Rob Page is expecting Bradford City to come out all guns blazing when he takes his Cobblers team to Valley Parade on Tuesday night (ko 7.45pm).
The Bantams will be smarting after they suffered only their second Sky Bet League One defeat of the season on Saturday, slumping to a heavy 3-0 loss at Southend United.
Stuart McCall’s side are still very well placed as they sit fourth in the table, just two points behind Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United in second place, and five points better off than Rochdale who sit just outside the play-off places.
The Cobblers are also going into the game off the back of a defeat, the painful derby loss to Peterborough United, which was the second time in a row they have been beaten by a stoppage time strike following the 2-1 defeat at Gillingham a week earlier.
“They were beaten 3-0 on Saturday, so they are going to want to bounce back from that,” said Page, who saw his Cobblers team drop to 12th in league one thanks to that loss to Posh.
“We obviously want to bounce back from a difficult couple of weeks, so it will make for an interesting game.
“I know Stuart McCall, I played with him at Sheffield United at the end of his career, and then he went into management and was assistant to Neil Warnock.
“I know how passionate he is about the game, I know the attention to detail that he puts into the game, and that’s proved with how well he has done having been out of the country.
“He has been up in Scotland, and to come in and have an impact on Bradford City as he has is credit to him.
“We are in for a tough game, of course we are, but we have two great games to bounce back from a couple of disappointing weeks.
“We know what to expect from his Bradford team, we will be well prepared going into it and will give everything we’ve got to get the three points.
“The weekend was disappointing, but we will roll our sleeves up and go again.”
The game against the Bantams is the second of a trio of games in the space of eight days against teams in the play-off places, following on from Saturday’s clash against Peterborough, and before Bolton Wanderers head to Sixfields on Saturday.
They are games that excite Page, and he insists the players are still confident despite those consecutive defeats.
“We said this was going to be a big week for us, and it wasn’t the performance on Saturday that has cost us the game, it is concentration late on in the game, and individuals making wrong decisions,” said the Town boss.
“It’s not easy to accept that, but I know I can deal with it. If it teams were carving us open and we were sitting and scratching our heads thinking ‘we are out of our depth here’, we are not.
“In the last two games we should have got points, and we have to take that confidence into the Bradford game.
“There are areas we need to improve on individually, in concentration and in making mistakes, and if we eradicate them we stand a good chance.”
The Cobblers will be without injured pair Zander Diamond and JJ Hooper, but otherwise have a fully fit squad.