Brady 'won't go over the top' after admitting he feared a 'tough day' for Cobblers at Swindon
'The players were desperate to play but they weren't conditioned to anywhere near the level where we can get them to.'
It is rare for a manager to praise his players after they have collapsed to a 5-2 defeat but the circumstances that led to Cobblers' second-half horror show at Swindon Town on Saturday were highly unusual.
Northampton had not trained as a full group, let alone played an actual game, between December 11 and December 31 due to a COVID outbreak that ripped through Sixfields.
Most clubs in the country were disrupted over the festive period but few had it as bad as the Cobblers, with the timings and nature of outbreak making it impossible to plan and prepare.
"When it hits us like it has, it's been very difficult to get any momentum into training," admitted Jon Brady.
"You have six or seven players training, you get a couple back and then two more go down and that's been the story for us.
"At one stage, the whole coaching staff went down so you can't come in and train. You're down to the bare minimum.
"We're not trying to make excuses because we want to plough through."
With some players not back in training until Friday, Saturday's game at Swindon was always going to be a huge challenge.
Brady added: "We knew that today might be a tough day for us but after 50 minutes, when we're 2-1 up, we felt it could be different.
"But Jack Sowerby's head was pounding really bad at half-time. He played on through and I have the utmost respect and praise for my group in terms of how they have stepped out there today and put themselves on the line.
"They were desperate to play but they weren't conditioned to anywhere near the level where we can get them to.
"We now need a real strong week together and I'm looking forward to getting hold of them and making sure we're ready to go next Saturday."
For all their problems, it appeared that Northampton were picking up from where they left off when leading 2-1 after 50 minutes.
But then four goals in the next 16 minutes, all scored by Swindon, turned dramatically things around.
Brady continued: "It was quite precarious before the game because you were trying to work out how you're going to set up with just one session of training, but it looked really good up until half-time.
"But then it all went in a mad 20 minutes. I'm not going to go over the top with that today because it was unrecognisable in terms of how we've been defensively this season.
"We just have to get back to do what we do and do the right things and have a good week's work ready for Crawley next Saturday."