A month into his reign as Cobblers boss, there are indisputable signs that Justin Edinburgh’s work is already paying off, even if the man himself sees plenty of room for improvement. Particularly, he says, when it comes to their fitness and second-half performances.
Two wins in his first two Sixfields games in charge represents a huge step forward for Edinburgh’s team, who had lost their previous five home matches under former boss Rob Page.
Admittedly, both of those victorious have come against the current bottom two in Sky Bet League One, Coventry City and Chesterfield, but with Northampton scoring three goals in comfortable wins on each occasion, the signs bode well.
Even in defeat to Walsall last weekend, the Cobblers produced a strong, gutsy display that quite easily could have yielded an impressive away point, or even more with better finishing, on another day.
It’s not all been good, though, and Edinburgh is very much conscious of the areas that must improve, most notably in the second-half of games when Northampton’s fitness has come into question.
They wavered somewhat in a jittery second 45 minutes against Chesterfield on Saturday, particularly after David Faupala’s 54th minute goal gave the visitors hope of a comeback, and in the previous week’s game at Walsall, they were too negative when leading 1-0.
“We’re a new team that are getting fitter as the games go on,” explained Edinburgh.
“We’re not quite there to keep the intensity up and the quality up throughout the whole game, certainly once Chesterfield got the goal I thought we were a tad nervous which is understandable given the importance of the game and the not so good form at home prior to myself coming.
“I was pleased with our first-half but I became frustrated as the second-half went along. I thought we were wasteful in possession and with that we became stretched as a unit.
“You’re not going to dominate for 90 minutes but we need to try and maintain a little bit more form and possession in the second-half of games.
I believe as this team becomes fitter and as the players get more game-time, we’ll continue to show the first-half into the second-half and then I’ll be pleased.
“Chesterfield moved the ball well and caused us problems but I believe as this team becomes fitter and as the players get more game-time, we’ll continue to show the first-half into the second-half and then I’ll be pleased.”
With another team battling relegation in Swindon Town due to visit Sixfields on Tuesday evening, this is no time to be resting on laurels.
A victory would have the Cobblers looking towards mid-table, a defeat would put them back into trouble.
“We’ll rest up now and start preparing,” added Edinburgh. “It’s another home game that we’ve got to be looking to win.
“I think it’ll be similar to Saturday. Swindon are a possession-based team like Chesterfield so our mindset and our game plan will be the same as it was on Saturday.
“That’s back-to-back home wins now and we look to build on that on Tuesday night.”