Brady praises both young and old and pinpoints key reason for Cobblers' improved form

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Cobblers have kept seven clean sheets in their last 11

There has been praise for both young and old from manager Jon Brady this week after a mix of youth and experience helped Cobblers turn their fortunes around.

Six players aged 23 or under started the wins over both Mansfield and Crewe, but they were guided by some more experienced heads, led by captain Jon Guthrie and goalkeeper Lee Burge.

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"Burgey and Jon Guthrie are real experienced campaigners and I think their knowledge and advice to the young boys, talking them into position, really helps,” said Brady.

Jon Guthrie and Sam SherringJon Guthrie and Sam Sherring
Jon Guthrie and Sam Sherring

"It's great experience for the younger players and it's not something you can buy. To manage the games how they did was really good.

"I think we are second or third in the whole league for most minutes played by players aged 23 or under and that's something we spoke about at the start of the season because we wanted to go with younger players mixed with some experience.

"Now, consistency is the key to success, especially for those younger ones, because they need to be consistent in their performance and their attitude."

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Town’s defence has been the foundation of their improvement in recent weeks, with Harvey Lintott, Sam Sherring, Paul Osew and Max Dyche – all aged 22 or under – playing their part at some point.

"The defence is looking strong and solid at the moment,” Brady added. “The other thing to be pleased about is what we have hardly conceded any chances against us in the last few games.

"That's really pleasing and as a team we always defend from the front. When we keep a clean sheet, the defence is highlighted but it's down to everybody in our team. This is a real young group and they are fighting hard in every game.”

Sherring in particular has grown in stature over the course of the season and he’s been absolutely vital to the recent run of seven clean sheets in 11 games. He’s started the last 22 games in a row stretching all the way back to October.

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"Sam has an old head on young shoulders,” said Brady. “He has good game experience, playing two full seasons in the Conference, getting into the Team of the Year, and then he went out on loan to Accrington and and Cambridge in League One, so he's had a lot of game-time for a young centre-half.

"We are pleased to have him on board and he's having a real strong season. If we can keep him fit, and if he can kick on for the last 10 games, he will continue to be a huge part of our defensive unit.”