Continuity of selection has helped Cobblers turn their form around

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Rarely over the last 12 months has Jon Brady been afforded the luxury of being able to name pretty much the same team for four games in a row.

The injury curse that continues to lurk over Sixfields has robbed Brady of the opportunity to build continuity, which makes his achievements all the more impressive.

But finally that might be changing. In the last four league games, Brady has named the same starting XI three times. It would have been four if not for Patrick Brough having to pull out an hour before kick-off against Blackpool.

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"It reflects in the results and in how consistent we've been and I think it also shows to other people what a different it can make when you are able to pick the same players,” said Brady. "It allows you to get some consistency and build those connections throughout the team, which is so important.

Jon BradyJon Brady
Jon Brady

"It's not something we've been able to do too much of over the last eight months, certainly not regularly, and to have players on the outside fighting to get into the team, that's a big thing to have. We've not had too much of that and sometimes players have been able to get back into the side quite quickly because of injury, but now they're having to fight for their place.

"It's nice to have some selection issues and have different options."

Saturday will be Town’s 20th game since returning to League One. Currently 13th with 23 points, they have so far adapted reasonably well to the step up in quality.

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"I think the big thing at this level is the strength and depth of the squads, especially in those top nine or 10 teams,” reflected Brady. "There’s no weaknesses and they have so much quality with lots of Championship standard players – it’s at a whole different level.

"But I feel there’s different levels within the league. You have the cluster of teams that are very strong and expect to challenge for promotion, but then there’s a middle group who are solid and consistent and then there’s the lower third where teams are just trying to pick up points and survive.

"It was more of an even playing field in League Two last season and you really felt anyone could beat anyone because there isn’t that disparity, although that’s changed a bit this year with the budgets of some clubs.”