Oxford beware as Cobblers winger Hackett is flying high

FEELING GOOD - Cobblers winger Chris Hackett
FEELING GOOD - Cobblers winger Chris Hackett

Cobblers winger Chris Hackett believes he is currently in his best form since winning promotion with Millwall three seasons ago.

The 29-year-old has been a key player in the team’s recent run of three successive victories, playing with a relentless energy and causing havoc for opposing teams with his ability to dribble at speed.

Hackett’s natural balance combined with a running style that it is clear has been coached (he was an Oxfordshire county sprint champion as a teenager) makes him an attacking midfielder without comparison in the current Town squad and an early contender for player-of-the-year honours.

Having missed a lot of football through injury in the past three years, he states with some confidence that this is his best run of form since Millwall’s promotion in 2009-10.

“This is probably my best form since I got promoted with Millwall a few years ago,” said Hackett, who tomorrow (Sat) comes up against his first professional club when the Cobblers travel to Oxford United.

“I played 40 or 50 games that season and any player will tell you, if you’re playing regularly then your form comes.

“I’ve had a couple of years of it being stop-start since then. I’ve had a couple of injuries and a couple of years where the manager hasn’t seen me as first choice so I was just getting bits and pieces and just playing here and there.

“I’m a player who needs to be playing week in, week out to be sharp and fit and I’m enjoying how things are going at the minute.”

The team’s current form is as hot as it has been all season - they are scoring goals freely and on Tuesday night married that attacking prowess with a defensive resilience that generated a first clean sheet in almost a month.

Although he is not likely to find himself out of the team any time soon, Hackett is quick to stress the importance of a squad bolstered by the return to fitness of key players such as Ben Harding and the re-signing of Clarke Carlisle.

“It goes hand in hand,” he said. “Personal form comes with the team being successful and we’re creating a winning mentality.

“Form comes with that and a lot of players across the pitch are in good form.

“We have to continue that for 25 games.

“We’ve been a bit light in numbers but we’ve got quite a few boys back now and we’re starting to get some good competition for places too.

“There are players who are pushing hard to come into the side.

“They are on the bench but they are desperate to play and be a part of things here.”