Cobblers boss Chris Wilder pits his wits against the Football League’s second-longest serving head coach this week and goes into the match at Exeter extolling the virtues of giving managers time to implement their ideas.
Paul Tisdale has been in charge at St James’ Park since June 2006, a spell in which seven different men have done the equivalent job at Northampton on a permanent basis.
The most recent name on that list is that of Wilder, who has been criticised for overseeing a poor run of results which have seen Town slump to 20th in Sky Bet League Two.
He received a public show of support from chairman David Cardoza in late December and that faith has been reinforced by the financial backing the manager has been given to sign three new players – Jason Taylor, Ricky Holmes and Brendan Moloney.
All three should keep their places in the side at Exeter, where Wilder goes up against a manager whose tenure in the job is only beaten by that of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.
“It’s not just managers protecting their jobs, but if you look at all the successful ones they’ve all had time to build,” he said.
“Even Southend, Phil Brown sorted the place out when he first went in there and now they’re ready to kick on and challenge for a promotion.
“They’ve got a steady group of players and I think everybody in the game recognises that people need time to put their ideas over and how they want to work.
“Paul has had that time and I’ve had that time at previous clubs.
“The more successful ones are given time.”
Exeter go into the game in something of a transition, having lost their past two games and seeking to strengthen after selling Matt Grimes to Swansea City for a club record fee.
They have recruited striker Alex Nicholls following his Sixfields release and midfielder David Noble from Oldham Athletic and both will play on Saturday.
“They had a really poor start but they’ve shown that they are capable of going on runs and winning lots of games on the bounce,” said Wilder.
“It’s a very streaky league and that can happen. They are in a great position and they’ll be looking to get their season going again.
“Paul has done an excellent job there and they have an infrastructure there that produces players; they’ve just sold one to Swansea.
“They are a very technical side who have had their ups and downs, like at the start and losing in the FA Cup at Warrington but Paul is a very good manager and that’s why he’s been there a long time.”