Wilder to keep the faith in his Cobblers starting 11

Lee Collins and Ryan Cresswell played in central defence for the Cobblers at Exeter City
Lee Collins and Ryan Cresswell played in central defence for the Cobblers at Exeter City

Chris Wilder has confirmed he will keep the faith in his Cobblers starting line-up as he prepares to name the same side for a third successive game.

The 11 which beat Exeter City last weekend was the same as the one which faced Southend at Sixfields on January 3 - the first time this season that has happened.

It means teenage striker Ivan Toney and influential centre-back Zander Diamond may have to settle for places on the bench after returning from suspension and injury respectively.

To leave out Diamond would be an especially big call by Wilder, who gave the Scotsman a three-year deal in the summer which suggests he is being seen as the long-term partner for Ryan Cresswell, who also penned a three-year contract after being bought from Fleetwood in August.

“There won’t be any changes - it’s a case of you go again and let’s have more of the same, please,” said Wilder.

“Zander Diamond is a big player for us but the lads who played in defence at Exeter last week did well and I’ve got to respect good performances like that.

“The pressure is on those players to keep the shirts and I’ve said it all along that we need some consistency in the team, especially in defence.

“You might want to change things or tweak things in attack depending on the team you’re playing, but in defence you don’t want to be making any changes.

“We’ve had to do that because of injuries but we need a settled unit there now.

“Nothing would delight me more than for that back four to keep their places for a run of games.”