Gary Johnson admits he is unsure what sort of reception he will get from the Cobblers fans when he returns to Sixfields on Saturday.
The Cheltenham Town boss returns to Northampton for the first time since he was sacked as Town manager in November 2011, following an unsuccessful nine-month stint in charge.
Having replaced Ian Sampson as manager in March, 2011, Johnson won just six league matches in his 34 games in charge before leaving the club with the team 20th in the league two table, just three points above the relegation zone.
But on the eve of his return, Johnson inists he enjoyed his time at Sixfields, gave the job his best shot, and was full of praise for chairman David Cardoza.
Asked what sort of reception he thinks the Cobblers fans will give him on Saturday, Johnson admitted: “I never know, because sometimes you read websites and some people hate you, whether you are top of the league or not, it doesn’t matter to some people.
“But I pretty much enjoyed my time at Northampton.
“It was a big job, but I think the chairman there, David Cardoza, does a fantastic job and I got on well with him and the board.”
“We tried very hard to change the group at the club, because the group was in a bit of a losing mode at the time when I went there.
“We ended up staying in the division, I think it was with two or three games to go, because that group was on a losing run.
“But anything we needed, the chairman came up with, and he was very supportive, so I only have good thoughts about Northampton from my time there.
We tried very hard to change the group at Northampton, because the group was in a bit of a losing mode at the time when I went thereFormer Cobblers boss Gary Johnson
“The next few managers didn’t quite do it either, and I really want Northampton to move on because I think David Cardoza deserves it for the work he puts in.”
Johnson actually took charge of the Cobblers with the team 16th in league two, having lost once in nine games, and 10 points above the relegation zone.
The former Yeovil and Peterborough boss’s arrival didn’t have the desired positive impact, as the team failed to win any of his first 11 games in charge as they slipped worryingly towards the bottom two, before his first win, a 2-0 victory over nine-man Stevenage in the penultimate game of the season, ensured the club’s survival.
Johnson recently took over a Cheltenham side that was rock-bottom of Sky Bet League Two and two points adrift of safety, but says he believes the situation at Whaddon Road shares similarities to the situation he inherited at Sixfields.
“There are similarities, but obviously I had a lot more games at Northampton as I went there in the middlish time of the season, I’m not sure how many games we had left,” Johnson told ctfc.com
“There were a lot of players there that weren’t quite doing the job that were on pretty long contracts, and we had to try and get players in and some produced and some didn’t.
“But we stayed up, everybody was happy that happened, but Northampton as a club, and the chairman, want to do a little bit more, and so should every club have that ambition.
“It was one of those things that it was another club of mine that I didn’t have any problems with, and I don’t normally walk away from too many clubs feeling bad about the chairman or the club.
“I gave my best, I know they gave their best to me, and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.”