Determined Page certain fortunes will turn for free-falling Cobblers

Rob Page remains adamant that his side will start to head back up the Sky Bet League One table as long as they maintain their current performance levels.

Monday, 28th November 2016, 6:29 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 3:41 pm
BAD TIMES: Rob Page's side have lost four straight league games, all by the odd goal. Pictures: Sharon Lucey

Four defeats on the bounce, including three 1-0 losses in the space of eight days, have sent the Cobblers tumbling in the wrong direction and left them 16th, five points adrift of both the top six and the relegation zone.

Their latest beating came at the hands of Bolton Wanderers on Saturday when Zach Clough’s first-half goal sent the spoils back up north despite a dominant second-half performance from the Cobblers.

It’s now 330 minutes since their last goal and 11 league games since their last clean sheet, and Saturday also became the ninth time already this season that Northampton have gone on to lose after conceding first.

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But Page is firmly of the belief that their fortunes will improve sooner rather than later.

He said: “The changing room is low, of course, because it’s four defeats, but if we keep performing like that, certainly in the second-half, it’ll turn around for us.

“The supporters showed their appreciation when we came off at the end and I thank them for that because the run we’re on is hurting for everyone at the football club.

“But it will turn and we do that by sticking together.

“As a manager, you want the effort from the players as a foundation and when you’ve got that, you just want something to drop for you and it will turn and we’ve got to make sure we take that into this week’s game.”

Bolton edged a cagey first-half before Northampton dominated the second and that somewhat owed to Page’s decision to bring on Marc Richards and John-Joe O’Toole and switch to a more direct 4-4-2 shortly after half-time.

With Sam Hoskins on the right, the tweak in shape allowed the Cobblers to pin Bolton back and keep the pressure on for much of the second 45 minutes.

“I thought we were the better team in the first-half and I thought we controlled the game,” added Page.

“It was our doing for the goal – we switched off and gifted them the goal – so there wasn’t a lot wrong and I thought I’d give it five or 10 minutes and told them to start fast and go and get an early goal or, if not, I’ll make changes.

“It was as simple as that. I made the changes, we switched the shape and put Sam out wide with Rico up top and played a 4-4-2.

“We rolled our sleeves up and had a go. The substitutions made us better.

“When we’ve been most effective, we’ve had Matty (Taylor) and Sam really control the game for us in the middle of the park so that was the thinking going into the game - to get them back on the ball.

“I thought John-Joe and Rico had an impact on the game and Sam was a threat every time he got the ball out wide and it’s good to have that option.”