Goalkeeper Smith's reaction delights Cobblers boss Page
Cobblers boss Rob Page is delighted with the way goalkeeper Adam Smith has reacted to his rare off night in the EFL Cup defeat to Manchester United, and says the painful experience will 'make him a bigger and better player'.
The Town shot-stopper made a couple of uncharacteristic and costly errors of judgement which led to the first and third goals in the 3-1 defeat to the Premier League giants last midweek.
Page and Smith's team-mates were supportive on the night and rallied round the former Leicester City man, who has been outstanding since joining the Cobblers in the summer of 2015, a fact highlighted by his inclusion in the Football League team of the year in May, .
Smith rightly retained his place for Saturday's Sky Bet League One clash with Southend United, and kept a clean sheet in the 4-0 win, and then turned in arguably his best performance of the season in Tuesday's 3-1 victory at Swindon Town.
Smith made a string of crucial saves as Town saw off the Robins, and he now goes into Saturday's Sixfields showdown with Bristol Rovers in top form and high on confidence.
"I have been there myself as a player, and all you ask for is an opportunity to go out there and put it right," said Cobblers boss Page.
"We did that for him against Southend, and for Adam to keep a clean sheet was great after what was a tough couple of days for him.
"He will grow from that experience, and he will be a bigger and better player for having had that experience.
"It's not pleasant to go through at the time, but it will hold him in good stead for future games and for his decision making, which is important.
"Young players come into teams, and let's not forget Adam is still a young man and still learning his game, and to make mistakes like that is not great on the night.
"But it didn't cost us three points, we move on, and Adam has learned from them and reacted in a great way."
Smith will be the last line of defence for the Cobblers against a confident Rovers side on Saturday, with Darrell Clarke's team following Town's lead in adapting well to life in league one following promotion in May.
The Gas are well placed in 10th place after the opening 10 games, four points shy of fourth-placed Cobblers, and were on a six-match unbeaten run prior to narrowly losing out 1-0 at Sheffield United on Tuesday.
Clarke has had to deal with the loss of top scorer and main man Matt Taylor for the past two games due to the player suffering a hamstring strain.
The Rovers boss isn't giving away any clues as to whether the front man will play at Sixfields this weekend, but insists his team will still be a threat regardless of Taylor's availability.
"We haven't built a one-man team here," said Clarke, who will definitely be without the services of another striker in Jermaine Easter who was sent off at Bramall Lane.
"The group has had success and continues to do well because we are a team that is not reliant on one or two players. Taylor is a match-winner and every side needs one of those who can make the difference.
"I didn't lose any sleep when I found out he was injured because I have good players waiting for their opportunity."