Alan Knill says the chances of the Cobblers getting a result from Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two trip to Accrington Stanley (ko 3pm) all hinges on ‘attitude’.
The Town players will be switching from the sumptuous Premier League surroundings of Newcastle United’s St James’ Park to the rather more basic facilities at Accrington’s Crown Ground, which thanks to a new sponsorship deal is now brilliantly called The Wham Stadium.
Town will be switching from playing on front of more than 26,000 fans, to probably something closer to 1,500, but what’s on offer for victory on Saturday is arguably more important than what was on offer for winning in the north east on Tuesday - three points.
Assistant manager Knill is confident that the transition from the glamour and prawn sandwiches of Newcastle to the ‘bread and butter’ of Accrington won’t be a problem for a Cobblers squad he believes has its feet firmly on the ground.
“I don’t think it will be difficult to get the players right, not with this squad, because the majority have played at this level for a long time and they know the score,” said the Cobblers assistant boss.
“We did say after the Newcastle game that it was a good night out, but we pointed out the bread and butter is the league, and Accrington away is a really tough game for us.
“It really is all about an attitude. I have been to Acccrington loads of times, and the first thing you have to do is get over that bit where you turn up, the changing rooms are not the greatest, and you know what’s coming on the pitch.
“John Coleman always puts out a competitive team, and we have to be competitive ourselves to make it a tough afternoon for them.
“Accrington have been fantastic, they have been in the League for however many years, and you know when you turn up there it is going to be a tough game.
“We went there last season, went down to 10 men, but then second half were really, really good.
“It is about our attitude, and we think that if our players say ‘yes’, then we are definitely good enough to give anybody in this league a game.
“The thing for us is to get the players, and for the players themselves, to get in the frame of mind that this is what we do every wekk, not Newcastle away.
“That is the bonus.”
The Cobblers have good memories of their recent trips to Accrington.
In 2014, Chris Wilder’s team secured a precious 1-0 win in their fight for League survival thanks to a Chris Hackett goal, and then in January this year the Cobblers romped to a 5-1 win, despite having Ryan Cresswell sent off in the first half.
“We know what we did last season, and we are trying to do exactly the same with this group of players,” said Knill.
“The majority of the players here did play there last season, and we will be looking to try and do exactly the same, or go about our work exactly the same.
“Obviously the result was a great result, but if we compete and match what Accrington put out on the pitch, it gives us a great chance.
“We have to go there and compete, because we know Accrington will do that.
“Once you gave done that, then hopefully the players will flourish and go and show what they can do.
“We know we have some players with some really good technical ability that can hurt teams.
“But if you don’t compete at Accrington, usually you will get beaten.
“There have been better teams go there than us and get turned over, but if we are on our game it will also be a tough game for them.”