Cobblers boss Jon Brady feels the 10-day break between games should be an 'advantage' for his side when they go to in-form Exeter City on Tuesday evening as third hosts second at St James Park.
Town enjoyed some rest and recuperation time following their win over Leyton Orient last weekend, but Exeter have played twice in the same period, winning 2-1 against Bradford City in the FA Cup on Tuesday before losing by the same scoreline at Cambridge United in the next round four days later.
The Grecians lost in-form striker Sam Nombe to a hamstring injury during their second-round tie at the Abbey Stadium, but Brady knows they are not a team to be underestimated.
Matt Taylor's side have not lost at home in any competition since March 13 - some 19 games ago - and their only defeat in the league since August 14 came at Colchester United a couple of weeks ago.
"With players, when it's so physical week in, week out, this break has been a great opportunity for their bodies to heal and we feel it should be an advantage for us," said Brady. "But Exeter have only lost once since August and they are unbeaten at home since March 13.
"But those records are there to be broken and we're in good form ourselves with six wins out of the last eight so it'll be two teams in top form going head to head.
"We don't feel it's too much difference playing away from home. Our form on the road has not been too bad but we'll go there to attack them as we always do. It's second versus third and it should be an exciting game."
Exeter have finished in the top nine without winning promotion in each of the last five seasons, losing three play-off finals along the way including to the Cobblers in 2020.
Brady added: "They have kept together roughly the same group of players and they have that core and they're also consistent performers over a period of time. That's been quite key to them and they have added to the group as well.
"We feel there are things we can exploit and there also things we will need to nullify but we're really looking forward to it and by the time the game comes around on Tuesday, we'll be champing at the bit.
"It's a cliche but these games are six-pointers and it's really important for us because if we win on Tuesday, we move four points clear of them and that would be huge for us and the perspective looks so much better.
"But if the result goes the other way, it's totally different."