Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink says his attackers have to ‘be willing to suffer’ to improve the Cobblers’ dismal recent scoring record.
Town’s goal drought came to a welcome end in Tuesday’s 1-1 Checkatrade Trophy draw at Peterborough United, but even then the team had to rely on an own goal from Posh skipper Jack Baldwin to get them on the scoreboard.
A Cobblers player hasn’t found the target since midfielder Matt Crooks’ classy strike in the first half of the 2-2 draw at Southend United on September 16, and a Town forward hasn’t netted since Chris Long fired home the third in the 3-1 win over Portsmouth on September 12.
Blanks have been drawn in games against Wigan Athletic, Bradford City, Milton Keynes Dons and Rotherham United, and the season has been a struggle for the team’s strikers, with Alex Revell and Long both scoring just twice so far this season, Marc Richards once, and the likes of Dean Bowditch, Billy Waters and Darren Powell yet to get off the mark.
They are concerning stats for the Cobblers, and for boss Hasselbaink who knows a thing or two about hitting the back of the net, having been a world-cass striker in his playing career.
Hasselbaink insists he has been happy with the number of opportunities his team is creating, but knows those chances have to start being taken on a regular basis if the team is to pull away from the foot of Sky Bet League One.
And he insists his players have simply got to work harder to ensure that happens.
“I want to score more goals, and we need to be willing to suffer,” said the former Chelsea, Leeds United and Holland striker.
“The players need to make those runs time and time again.
“It might not fall for you five times, six times, but the seventh of the eighth time it will fall for you.
“It will be the right cross, or it will be the right pass, and you can’t stop making those runs and getting in front of that goal.”
The Cobblers boss will be hoping his players can find their shooting boots for Saturday’s clash with Bristol Rovers at Sixfields (ko 3pm).
Scoring goals is certainly something the Gas don’t have a problem with, as they have scored 23 goals in their 11 league one games this season.
Their top scorer is former Cobblers loan man Billy Bodin, who has netted eight times, with strike partners Rory Gaffney and Ellis Harrison scoring four apiece.