Cobblers boss Justin Edinburgh has again underlined the need for his side to show a more ruthless edge in front of goal if they are to overcome the ‘relentless and unforgiving’ demands of League One football this season.
At times in these early stages of the campaign Northampton’s lack of fluency and cohesion has been all too apparent, and while some of that can be explained by new players bedding into a new system, there also seems to be some anxiety in their play as they seek a first goal and victory of the season.
With so many options to pick from across the pitch, Edinburgh is also still tinkering with his players in order to find a settled, balanced side.
It seems at present the combination he prefers up front is to partner Alex Revell with Chris Long and have Billy Waters tucked in behind, something which has shown flashes of promise.
The Cobblers did not create a shedload of chances in their last game against Fleetwood on Saturday but they squandered two glaring opportunities before half-time and Edinburgh feels that, had one of those gone in, it’d have given the afternoon an entirely different complexion.
Had Waters or Aaron Pierre netted, Town would have taken the lead going into the second-half, forcing Fleetwood to come out and push men forward, which in turn would afford Northampton more space to pick them off and perhaps play with more fluency.
“You’ll see fluid football at 2-0 and 3-0 up,” said Edinburgh following Saturday’s loss. “Not many teams are going to play their way out of this league.
“It’s physical, it’s a battle, it’s relentless and it’s unforgiving, as is any league at any level, and what we have to do to is to be more ruthless when we get opportunities.
“There weren’t a hatful of them (on Saturday) but we had good chances inside the six-yard box that need to be taken and if they are it’s a different game.
“The tension and the anxiety is taken out of the performance but as the game goes on I totally understand there’s some anxiety and nervousness in the stadium, of course there is because we’ve lost our last two games 1-0.”
You’ll see fluid football at 2-0 and 3-0 up. Not many teams are going to play their way out of this league.
Reflecting further on his side’s defeat to Fleetwood, Edinburgh was again pleased with Town’s defensive efforts in restricting their visitors to so few chances, just as they had against Shrewsbury and Queens Park Rangers.
In fact, Northampton have only faced five shots on target from their two league games so far this season, but it’s at the other end where the problems lie.
Edinburgh added: “We’re not getting overrun and we know we’re in games. Their goalkeeper made saves on Saturday, ours made one from 20 yards, so it’s frustrating, very frustrating.
“I thought they (Fleetwood) started brightly but we ended the first-half really strongly, but we need to score goals when we get the opportunity and that’s the only way games change.
“As it was they were looking to slow it, stop us playing and they did their job.
“They’re an away team and they won’t come here and be open and expansive, and it was a tight second-half.
“We want to achieve and we’re desperate to get the results and get the points on the board and start scoring goal and winning football matches - that’s what we’re here for.
“That’s what will happen but we have to remain resilient and strong.”