Hasselbaink satisfied with steady progress but warns Cobblers must be wary of in-form MK Dons
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink remains satisfied with the progress the Cobblers are making under his leadership, in spite of their recent mini-wobble, as they prepare Tuesday's short trip down the M1 to face a rejuvenated Milton Keynes Dons side.
The Dons, like Northampton, were slow out of the blocks this season having amassed just four points from their opening five games but three wins in four, the latest of which came at AFC Wimbledon on Friday, has catapulted them into the top half of Sky Bet League One.
Robbie Neilson’s side are also on a good run at home with the opening-day defeat to Wigan Athletic still their only loss at Stadium MK in the league this season, and Hasselbaink is well aware of the fact that – yet again – his team have their work cut out on Tuesday if they are to arrest their woeful form away from home.
Town have won just once on their travels in the whole of 2017, with one of their many defeats this year coming at MK Dons back in January when they were beaten in an eight-goal thriller.
“It’s not going to be an easy one, another one,” said Hasselbaink. “They’re a good playing side who want to pass the ball and they give you trouble in midfield.
“They overload the midfield and they’re a good team. They won 2-0 on Friday and it’ll be tough for us but we’ll have a go and we’ll try to win.”
Despite overseeing back-to-back wins immediately after his appointment, Hasselbaink’s team are languishing just one place and one point above the League One drop zone.
But it’s not all doom and gloom for the Town manager, far from it.
When quizzed on whether or not he’s happy with their progress following Saturday’s defeat to Bradford City, he said: “Definitely, yes.
“We gave away certain chances on Saturday that I wouldn’t like to see and we need to get that out of our game, but it’s a work-in-progress and it’s always going to be a work-in-progress.
“Let’s not forget, when I came in we had nine games this month so training is going to be hard.
“We try to keep the players as fresh as possible and on Saturday I changed things with a few players just to give them a rest and give us more energy.
“You could see that in the second-half. In the first-half I wanted more but we are learning, we are working and we need to keep improving and that’s the only thing we can do.”