Dean Bowditch accepts there is ‘a mental block’ that seems to be affecting Cobblers performances – but insists the players are doing everything they can to finally get the season up and running.
The Cobblers go into Saturday’s clash at Mansfield Town without a win in their past four Sky Bet League Two games, but they did at least claim a first clean sheet of the season in last weekend’s 0-0 draw with fellow strugglers Notts County.
We are all humans, we all have the emotions everybody else has, and it’s just can we be strong enough and mentally tough enough to deal with that? At the moment, it is proving difficultDean Bowditch
That was a game that followed a very familiar pattern so far this season, with Town starting well but failing to make the most of their early dominance, with County then getting more and more into the game.
Bowditch, who made his first start since the 1-0 defeat at Morecambe in mid-August, admits it is a frustration for everybody, but says the players are giving everything they can.
“It is frustrating because we want to try and win games as soon as possible, and the work-rate is there, and you can see it’s all there,” said the former MK Dons man.
“You can see the lads are working hard and trying to do the right things, but it’s just not going for us at the moment, for whatever reason.
“There seems to be a bit of a mental block, and hopefully it can turn and we will get that little bit of confidence that we not only we need, but the fans need and the staff need to give them something to hold on to.”
Asked if there was nervousness among the squad before matches, particularly before games at the PTS Academy Stadium where the Cobblers have failed to win since April, Bowditch insisted that wasn’t the case, but that human nature does take over.
Asked if there was anxiety in the camp, Bowditch said: “It doesn’t feel like it before a game.
“We get really revved up for it, and you are going out really confident, but then as the game goes on, and you can all probably feel it, you notice that things get a little twitchy and nervy, and that is human.
“We are all humans, we all have the emotions everybody else has, and it’s just can we be strong enough and mentally tough enough to deal with that? At the moment, it is proving difficult.”
The major plus point from the weekend was the fact the Cobblers didn’t concede, and Bowditch believes that it is a psychological step forward.
“It is a positive that we got a clean sheet at the weekend, and as long as you do get a clean sheet, you have a base to build on,” he said.
“It’s a positive we can take a lot out of, and that’s not just the back four it’s the whole team.
“We might not have been at our fluent best on Saturday, and we probably sacrificed that a little bit to try and be more defensively sound, and hopefully we can now build on that and go forward.
“We are nearly 10 games in now though, and it has to happen soon.”