Nicholls wants Cobblers to lay down promotion marker at Torquay

AIMING HIGH - Cobblers goalkeeper Lee Nicholls
AIMING HIGH - Cobblers goalkeeper Lee Nicholls

Goalkeeper Lee Nicholls believes the Cobblers can lay down a promotion marker with a win at Torquay United tomorrow (Sat, ko 3pm).

After a fantastic November, the wheels have slightly come off the Cobblers’ bandwagon with three defeats on the spin, two in the league and one in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, but Nicholls believes the rot can be stopped on the English Riviera.

Despite successive league defeats at the hands of Oxford United and Cheltenham Town, the Cobblers are still just four points adrift of the play-off places and Nicholls is still very positive.

“If we had got points from the last two games then we would have been in the play-offs,” said the shot-stopper, who is on a season-long loan from Premier League side Wigan Athletic.

“But luck hasn’t been on our side and we have to just keep going.

“If we want to be in the play-offs at the end of the season then we have to be beating teams like Torquay.”

The Cobblers squad travelled to the south west today ahead of the game, and Nicholls says he and his team-mates are still in confident mood despite their blip in form.

“I think we have to approach every game the same,” said the 20-year-old.

“In our last two games we had chances to win, and we could have won both games.

“So I think we will go into the Torquay match and prepare in the same way, and we will go to win the game as we do every other.”

Conceding goals has become an issue again for the Cobblers, with Nicholls having to pick the ball out of his net eight times in the past three matches.

Prior to those three games, the Cobblers had conceded just five in six fixtures, and some supporters are concerned the arrival of Clarke Carlisle has upset the balance in the Town defence

But Nicholls insists that is not the case, and that the former York City man just needs some time to settle in at Sixfields again.

“When I first heard about Clarke Carlisle signing, I thought it would be a great signing and could be one of the signings of the season,” said Nicholls.

“As soon as he settles in and as soon as the back four get used to each other and gel as a team, then we could be a side that can go on runs.

“I don’t think there have been many problems, and it is now just a case of getting a solid back four.

“We just need to get used to each other.”

THE Cobblers have been handed a home tie in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup against either Hull City or Swansea City.

The tie is a reward for their 2-1 third-round win over Canvey Island at Sixfields on Wednesday night.

The clash with the Tigers or Swans has to be played before January 19, 2013.

FORMER Cobblers defender Ian Hendon has been promoted to Under-21s coach at Premier League outfit West Ham United.

Hendon, who has previously managed Barnet, was in charge of the development squad at Upton Park, but has been promoted in a reshuffle following manager Sam Allardyce’s decision to remove Wally Downes from his coaching team.