Skipper Marc Richards believes the Cobblers fully deserve their substantial lead at the top of Sky Bet League Two - but insists the players aren’t celebrating anything yet.
Town moved eight points clear of second-placed Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday night when they saw off third-placed Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium.
Richards’ penalty was the only goal of the game, and the win saw the Cobblers go 12 points clear of the third-placed Us, and 18 points ahead of fourth-placed Accrington Stanley.
It is a big cushion for the team to have, but with 16 matches to go and 48 points to play for, Richards insists he and his team-mates are taking nothing for granted.
When asked how it felt to go clear, Richards said: “It’s what we’ve worked hard for all season, and I think the lead is justified with our results and our performances.
“To go to Oxford and get a 1-0 win and to go to Leyton Orient on Saturday and get a 4-0 win, these are really tough teams to play against.
“As long as we keep coming away with three points, that’s all that matters.
“But you can’t get ahead of yourself and the gaffer keeps us firmly grounded.”
Tuesday’s win was the Cobblers’ eighth in a row in the league, matching the club record set in the 1960/61 season, and they will be aiming to surpass that when Wycombe Wanderers are the visitors to Sixfields on Saturday.
The match is a sell-out for home supporters, while almost 2,000 made the trip to Oxford to cheer the team on on Tuesday, and Richards says he is delighted the team are rewarding the fans for their loyalty with some superb, winning football.
When asked about the travelling support, Richards just said: “Wow.
“You look at the away end on Tuesday and they took up half of the big stand, which just makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. The fans were brilliant, as they have been all season.
“These performances we’re putting in, and the fact we’re top of the league, are for the fans because they’re getting right behind us.”
Richards was taken off midway through the second half at Oxford, but says he will be fighting fit to take on a Wycombe side still in the hunt for a top-three finish this season.
“There’s no problem,” said the 33-year-old, who now has 18 goals to his name this season. “The problem I had with my Achilles is not a concern at the moment.
“I’m managing it really well with the physio and the rehab coach so there’s no problem with that.
“They decided to bring me off to give my legs a little breather because we had a tough game on Saturday and I’m 33 now, so I’m not getting any younger.”