Defender Aaron Pierre is relishing the challenge of life in Sky League One with the Cobblers, even though the first half of his debut season with the club hasn’t exactly gone to plan.
Pierre was signed by Justin Edinburgh from league two Wycombe Wanderers in the summer, and at the time there was quiet optimism around Sixfields that they would enjoy a productive season.
Just four four matches and four defeats into the league campaign, Edinburgh had been sacked and Pierre found himself having to impress a new man in charge when Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink took over.
On the whole, the 24-year-old has acquitted himself well at the higher level, having only ever played at league two level prior to his move to the Cobblers, and he says that despite the team’s on-field struggles at times, he has enjoyed himself.
“It is always good to step up a level and test yourself,” said Pierre, who began his career at Brentford, but only made three cup appearances for the west Londoners.
“It is unfortunate the circumstances we are in at the moment, but it is a challenge.”
So what are the main differences between defending at league two level, to defending in the third tier of English football?
“The difference is individual players can change the game,” said Pierre.
“Whereas sometimes in the league below it is more of a collective, and it more about a battle.
“Here in the higher level at league, with individual players they can produce something out of nothing. That is the main difference.”
Pierre has made 22 appearances in the Cobblers defence this season, and is likely to keep his place in the team for the visit of in-form Blackburn Rovers this Saturday.
He started against Walsall last weekend, his first appearance in a month after suffering a groin injury, and after a shaky start that saw him and David Cornell get into a mix-up to gift the Saddlers the opening goal after less than two minutes, he turned in a decent performance.
The early mistake wasn’t an ideal situation for the Londoner, but he says it was just one of those things, and instead chose to focus on the team’s recovery to post a 2-1 victory.
“It was a little miscommunication between me and my goalkeeper, but it was a great response from us,” said Pierre
“For us to get back in the game quickly, and then score again, shows the quality we have in the squad.
“We now need to maintain it, and have to believe we can keep that going through the season.”