The start of the new football season can’t come quickly enough for Cobblers forward Sam Hoskins who says he and his team-mates are ‘itching to get going’ in their bid to atone for the disappointment of relegation last year.
Northampton open their Sky Bet League Two campaign with a home game against Lincoln City, who made the play-offs last term, at the PTS Academy Stadium next Saturday.
Dean Austin’s men have won all five of their pre-season friendlies so far and they look in good shape to mount a promotion challenge back to League One, although similar things were said 12 months ago when they beat Championship side Derby County prior to the first game, only for a thoroughly disappointing campaign to follow.
Hopes are high that it’ll be different this time, though, and Hoskins is one of several players who has impressed during pre-season, scoring one goal and creating another in their most recent win over Barnet on Tuesday.
“It’s been important to keep the squad together,” he said. “I thought we played really well at the end of last season and I felt we were getting stronger.
“Obviously it was disappointing to get relegated but that’s gone now and we’ve regrouped and it’s good to have kept the core of the team because it’ll help in the season and we know how each other play.
We’re all itching to get going. The way last season ended, we want to go out there and prove that we can bounce straight back.
“We’ve also made some good additions to the squad so it’ll be competitive for places in the team and it’s very encouraging that we can go out and play like we did against Barnet.”
Cobblers have recently returned from a six-day training camp in Spain where they were put through their paces in order to reach the required fitness levels ahead of the first competitive fixture.
“Spain was very tough but pre-season is always tough, especially in the heat, and it was a very good week of training and now we’re edging closer to the season which is exciting and we can’t wait for it to start,” added Hoskins.
“We’re all itching to get going. The way last season ended, we want to go out there and prove that we can bounce straight back.”
Town’s most impressive pre-season performance came against Barnet when they created several chances on top of the three goals they scored while also looking relatively untroubled at the back.
“We’ve been working a lot in pre-season on how we want to play,” continued Hoskins. “We want to keep the ball a lot but we will come under pressure in most games so we have to learn how to deal with that.
“I think Tuesday showed how hard we’ve worked on it and the clean sheet was a bonus.”