Cobblers U18s coach Jon Brady is backing his young side to 'show what they're all about' in tonight's FA Youth Cup first-round tie with Colchester United.
Brady's team have scored 44 goals in 12 games this season and sit top of their EFL Youth Alliance table after beating second-placed Peterborough United 5-1 at the weekend.
They've only lost two games all season but face a stiff test this evening when category two side Colchester visit the PTS Stadium. The young U's are eighth in the southern section of the U18 Professional Development League.
"It's always a challenge for a category three side to play against a category two side and on paper they are perceived to be the stronger outfit," said Brady.
"But we're doing very well in our league at the moment and we're averaging nearly four goals per game so we feel we're in good, strong form ourselves and the confidence is high and also we're at home.
"They'll be travelling to our place and I think they'll be wary of us and they'll know we're in good form so there's everything for us to play for."
The chance to play in front of a healthy crowd at the PTS Academy Stadium brings a different kind of pressure for Town's youngsters but Brady says his players must relish the opportunity.
He added: "I think they should thrive on the opportunity they've got ahead of themselves because it's an opportunity to put themselves in the spotlight and show the first-team manager what the're all about in a knockout competition where they have to try and get a result to progress.
"It's a chance to show what they can do under pressure and instead of fearing the pressure, I feel they just need to thrive and these players have done that so far.
"The better players that thrive in pressure situations are the players that the manager will want to take so it's important for them to produce on this sort of stage."