Boss Chris Wilder has insisted there will be ‘no scapegoats’ when it comes to picking a team for the Cobblers’ trip to Carlisle United on Saturday.
Wilder was an angry man following last weekend’s defeat to Plymouth Argyle, and in his post-match interview talked of players ‘needing to be moved on’.
It was a clear indication that Wilder is running out of patience with some of his underperforming squad, but the Cobblers boss is insisting no players will be singled out to take the blame for a run that has seen the team lose seven of their past nine league games.
“I pick from the players that are available,” said Wilder.
“There are no scapegoats really, I just need to pick the right side to get a result.
“If I do that, then the players that are picked are the ones that have to show everybody that I have made the right decisions to put my faith in them.
“We believe we still need to make changes in January, but I am up for the battle now and up for the fight, and I want to see who’s right behind me.
“If they are then we will pick results up between now and the end of the season.”
The Town manager reiterated that there are definitely going to be changes to the squad, and said: “In a strange and perverse way, Saturday sort of clarified a lot of things, and I was more positive on Sunday morning than possibly I have been in quite a while regarding certain players, and the way we need to go about things.
“I have in my own mind made decisions on certain players and the way forward, who I think will be staying at the end of the season and who will be going, and the players that I want to stay, they have to make sure I am making the right decision.
“In a way, I am now more excited and looking forward about the challenge ahead.”
Wilder will be boosted on Saturday by the return of central defender Zander Diamond, who hasn’t played since September, while Evan Horwood could also be in line for a start having not been involved in the first team since August.
Both players came through a midweek reserve team friendly at Birmingham City unscathed, and Wilder will also have goalkeeper Jordan Archer and midfielder Joel Byrom avilable to him after the pair completed one-match bans.
Ryan Cresswell will not be though, having suffered a setback with his knee injury in the warm-up before the Plymouth game.
The only other two players unavailable through injury are Ian Morris, who’s out for the season, and Tom Newey.