Keith Curle has warned his players they will face a testing afternoon on and off the pitch when they kick-off their FA Cup campaign with a first round trip to Lincoln City on Saturday (ko 3pm).
The Sky Bet League Two leaders pride themselves on the fact they like to create an intimidating atmosphere at Sincil Bank, and it is one Curle is familiar with, having taken his Carlisle United side there last season.
They have the man with the siren every time there is a corner and things like that, and it is part of their entertainment, and part of them getting their crowd involvedCobblers boss Keith Curle
The Cobblers haven’t played at Lincoln since November, 2010, and a large chunk of the Town squad will not have experienced the delights of a game at the Imps’ home ground and what it entails, which includes the sounding of an air-raid siren every time Lincoln win a corner.
The average home gate at Lincoln has grown from around the 2,100 mark in 2013 to around 9,000 this season, as the people of the city have got behind Danny Cowley’s on-field revolution that has seen the club rise from the National League to the top of league two in the past three years.
There are unlikely to be 9,000 in attendance for the visit of the Cobblers as it is an FA Cup tie and attendances usually drop, but Curle knows his team could still be heading into something of a whirlwind.
And he has told his players they have to try and block everything out.
“They try to create a carnival type atmosphere at Lincoln,” said Curle, whose Carlisle team suffered a 4-1 defeat at Sincil Bank last season after having a player sent off early in the second half.
“They have the man with the siren every time there is a corner and things like that, and it is part of their entertainment, and part of them getting their crowd involved.
“You have to bear that in mind, the players will be made aware of it, but ultimately we have to play the game, not the occasion.
“It’s part of the information we give the players, that Lincoln want to get the crowd up, they have a management team that want to involve everybody and want everybody in tune with how they want to play.
“So we have to manage that, we don’t get involved with them, we keep our focus and we understand the roles and responsibilities we have representing our football club.”
Cowley and his brother Nicky have done a remarkable job breathing life into Lincoln, who initially struggled to adapt to life in the National League following the club’s relegation from league two in 2011.
Curle is an admirer of the Imps boss, and said: “Danny is a young and aspiring manager, who has come in and has built a reputation.
“He has got success and now he is trying to build on that.”
The Cobblers players will be doing their best to ensure that building work hits something of a setback this weekend.