Cobblers boss Dean Austin revealed he was not totally satisfied with what he saw from his side during their 1-0 victory over Brackley Town on Tuesday, but he knows there's a lot more to come ahead of the new season.
Striker Andy Williams scored the only goal of the game with a crisp low finish nine minutes into the second-half but that was one of very few chances as Town struggled to impose themselves against their National League North opponents.
The encounter was dominated by loose passing and a general lack of excitement or goalmouth action, particularly in the first-half, but Cobblers still did enough to register their third successive pre-season victory ahead of flying to Spain this Saturday for a week-long training camp.
"It was exactly what I expected," said Austin following Tuesday's game. "Brackley are a very good side and we're starting to push ourselves a little bit now and get more minutes into the players, so it was a very good test for us.
"It's nice for strikers to score because they always want to score but I'm more interested in how the team's functioning and how we're shaping up before the start of the season."
Although there were some positives for Town - most notably Williams' first goal for the club and the encouraging display of new boy Hakeem Odoffin at right-back - Austin explained why elements of their performance, especially in the first-half, left him disappointed.
"I thought it was an interesting game," he added. "I wasn't completely satisfied with the first-half performance but we've got to get into the habit of winning and we've won again.
"I want to be able to have a continuation from the last four of five games of last season. I want to build on that and on the way that we play and the style of our play.
"I just felt that, in the first-half, it was a bit too slow from the back, a bit too pedestrian and our passing wasn't zippy enough or quick enough and we gave the ball away carelessly."
Austin does, however, expect to see a significant improvement from his team as fitness levels increase in the coming weeks, adding: "It's difficult at the moment because the boys are working extremely hard.
"We're just over two and a bit weeks into pre-season training and they've put a hell of a lot into their legs and when you get tired, the first thing that goes is your brain and the game becomes a little harder, but we're only going to get better."