The Cobblers may have improved since their last meeting with Sutton United but manager Jon Brady knows his side's promotion credentials face another stern examination at Gander Green Lane this weekend.
Town were somewhat flattered by the scoreline when they were beaten in the reverse fixture at Sixfields in October as Sutton continued from where they left off after impressively winning the National League title last season.
And though Brady's men have clearly improved since that first ever meeting, so have Sutton. Matt Gray's team have won seven of their last eight at home and leapfrogged the Cobblers into third with a stoppage-time victory over Colchester United in midweek.
"I was there to watch them on Tuesday night and they are a very good side, as we talked about earlier in the season when we faced them," said Brady.
"Sutton play a way that suits them. The purist might not like it but they are highly successful and they are very organised.
"They play with high energy and tempo and they are physically strong and riding a crest of a wave at the moment. They know their roles and responsibilities and when you're like that, it really gives you the edge on your opponents.
"But when we played them at Sixfields, COVID hit us then and we weren't at full-strength and I think it rocked us because we had to shuffle the team about.
"We feel we are much better now and we have improved a lot since then and we're looking forward to the challenge on Saturday."
Joe Kizzi and Donovan Wilson were on target at Sixfields in October as Cobblers struggled to cope without Jon Guthrie.
"That might be motivation for some players but I feel it's about learning," Brady added.
"We learned some valuable lessons from that game and we feel we have improved as a group since then.
"We need to look forward now and we're really looking forward to the game on Saturday.
"At the moment we're facing teams who are in good form and are near the top of the table but you have to face them at some point and I think Saturday showed we were back to our normal energy levels.
"The performance was really strong and now I think it's good timing for us to go and play Sutton."
Brady has pretty much a fully-fit squad to pick from with long-term absentee Sid Nelson the only major doubt.