Cobblers preparing for their 'hardest game of the season'

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‘Make no bones about it, this will be our toughest game of the season, 100 per cent.’

Cobblers are preparing for Saturday’s trip to rock-bottom, out-of-form Rochdale as if it’s their ‘toughest game of the season’ to guard against any complacency creeping in.

Dale are in danger of being cut adrift at the bottom of League Two after a run of four successive defeats, but three of those have been by just a single goal and their most recent victory was an impressive one away at Bradford City last month.

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So whilst the promotion-chasing Cobblers will be strong favourites to win at Spotland on Saturday, goalkeeper Tom King has been in this game long enough to know nothing is ever that straightforward.

Tom KingTom King
Tom King

"Make no bones about it, this will be our toughest game of the season, 100 per cent,” insisted the 27-year-old. "You aren't facing a Rochdale team in poor form, you're facing a Rochdale team who are fighting for their lives.

"This will be our hardest game all season and my messages to the back four and to the rest of the team this week is that this will be a difficult game and we all know that.

"The fans demand three points every week but we are used to high standards because of how well the club has done over the last couple of seasons. We are well prepared and we know it will be a very tough game.

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"You have to prepare like that because if you take these sort of games lightly, it will come back to bite you. We aren't in the business of doing that. We'll put our strongest team out and try our best to win the game.”

Cobblers know all too well about the importance of winning these type of games. Their failure to do so last season, losing twice to Rochdale and drawing with the hapless Scunthorpe United, proved oh-so costly come the final shake-up.

"I don't like to bring it up but you only have to look at last season,” added King. "You don't want to leave it to those fine margins. You want to make sure you give a good account of yourself every single game.

"The new signings who have come in need to hit the ground running, me included, I knew that when I joined. I feel like my performances have been OK so far but there's still a lot of improvement to come.”