Keith Curle remains confident that the Cobblers are making steady progress this season despite the setback of Saturday's late 2-1 defeat to Bradford City.
Town held their own in the first-half at Valley Parade and led through Charlie Goode's header, but pinned back for so much of the second 45 minutes, their stubborn resistance was eventually breached by late goals from Clayton Donaldson and Paudie O'Connor.
Whilst generally pleased with his side's defensive effort against Gary Bowyer's Bantams, Curle was frustrated by the manner of those two goals as all of Town's hard work came undone in the final 13 minutes.
Explaining what disappointed him most, Curle said: "They made first contact in the box for the second goal.
"We had three headers of the ball on the pitch in Charlie Goode, Jordan Turnbull and Scott Wharton so to not have someone making contact with their lad at the near post was disappointing, and then the reaction after that was also disappointing.
"For the first goal the lad walked past Vadaine Oliver far too easily and they have an opportunity to put the ball into the box.
"I spoke to Vadaine and it was too easy to get past him there. I understand he was worried about sticking out a leg and giving away a penalty, but he's got to make it harder."
Despite being unable to build on the previous week's win over Plymouth, Curle believes his side are still in good shape - and they might have got more from Saturday's trip to Valley Parade had they made the most of their first-half superiority, or with a little more help from the referee.
"I think we're making progress," he said. "The shape was good and I thought the performance levels were good and we had a valid lead at half-time.
"I don't think they caused us many problems and Dai (Cornell) didn't really have to make a save in the first-half because we frustrated them, we nullified them and we were dangerous on the break."
"We had chances. In the first-half Nicky Adams got pulled back on the halfway line and the referee played advantage but there was no advantage as Sam Hoskins ran offside.
"He allowed play to continue but it's got to be a free-kick to us because there's no obvious advantage."