Derby boss Cocu won't underestimate Cobblers in FA Cup tie
Derby County manager Phillip Cocu has warned his players not to underestimate the Cobblers when the two teams lock horns in Friday's FA Cup fourth-round tie at the PTS Stadium.
The former Dutch international, who won over 100 caps for his country, has had a mixed start to his reign at Pride Park after replacing current Chelsea boss Frank Lampard in the summer.
But the Rams have won four of their last five matches in all competitions and sit 15th in the Championship, 37 places above the Cobblers on the football league ladder.
Cocu is still in his first season as a manager in England but he's already familiar with the drama the FA Cup can create after Derby shocked Premier League Crystal Palace in the last round.
“It is always a difficult match to play when you have an away game against a team from a lower division in the FA Cup," Cocu told Derby's official website.
“We also have the ambition and desire to win the game, so we need to produce the football we played against Crystal Palace with the same attitude and desire.
“If we can do that then we have the qualities to do what we need to do on the pitch, but it definitely won’t be easy for us.
“There is great history with the FA Cup, and I think everybody knows, not only in the UK but even abroad, that it is a really special tournament.
“There are always big surprises in every round so that is why we cannot be comfortable by playing a lower league team because the surprise could be your club.
“We will have to make sure we are not it this time. It will be a great experience to be in the FA Cup again and we like to continue to the next round.”
Rams defender Matt Clarke, who's on loan from Brighton, echoed his manager's sentiments.
“I've played enough games against opponents like Northampton,” he said. “I've played at Northampton and it’s not an easy place to go.
“There is no such thing as an easy tie away from home against a lower league opposition and it’s something we are all aware of.
“We have to be bang at it and if we aren’t then we will fall short.”