Cobblers boss Rob Page believes troubled Shrewsbury Town are in a ‘false position’ ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet League One clash between the sides at Greenhous Meadow.
The Shrews slipped to the bottom of the table on Tuesday night following a damaging 3-0 home defeat to in-form Sheffield United, and they are low on confidence and also without a manager ahead of hosting Northampton this weekend.
Boss Micky Mellon left the club a fortnight ago to take over at non-League Tranmere Rovers and if truth be told Shrewsbury, who include former Cobblers striker Ivan Toney in their ranks, are a club in a bit of chaos.
They are without a win in any competition since September 3, have lost six and drawn three of their past nine games, and are currently on a run of four straight defeats.
The Cobblers are hardly tearing it up themselves as they are without a win in five, and although Page knows the clash with the Shrews represents a great chance for his team to redscover their form, he is wary of this weekend’s hosts.
“Shrewsbury are having problems and are looking for a manager at the minute, and they are fighting for points for different reasons,” said the Cobblers boss.
“They are a club that shouldn’t be where they are with the budget they have, and we have to respect that, but they are bottom of the table.
“We are desperately trying to get out of this little rut that we are in, and we need a win to get us back on track.
“We will be working hard to make sure that is on Saturday, but we have to respect what Shrewsbury are all about because they are fighting for points themselves.
“They have a few good players in their team, and for me they are in a false position, but they are there because they have not won enough games.
“They are there for a reason, and it is important we capitalise on that and raise our levels of performance and go and win the game.”
The Shrews will also be looking at taking on the Cobblers - who go into the game on the back of comprehensive defeats at the hands of Millwall and Peterborough United - as being the ideal chance to stop their own rot.
Page was very unhappy following Tuesday’s derby defeat at Peterborough, and in particular the fact the team conceded twice from set-pieces in the first-half.
Town also conceded two goals to set-plays in the recent 3-2 loss to Bristol Rovers, and the Cobblers boss knows opposition teams will be targeting that area of his team.
“Shrewsbury will be looking at us knowing that we are off the back of conceding three goals and off the back of conceding three goals in the game before as well,” said Page.
“People will now be talking about us from a set-piece point of view now, and we have to stand up and be counted.
“We have to be men and get out there and expect them to do that to us. We have to deal with it and then go and impose ourselves on them, because at any minute it will turn for us and we will get back to winning ways.”