Milton Keynes Dons stalwart Dean Lewington admits he has been surprised by the Cobblers’ struggles so far this season - but fears Keith Curle has now got Town playing to their potential ahead of Saturday’s big clash at Stadium MK.
Veteran defender Lewington is no stranger to MK versus Cobblers clashes, having played in the very first meeting between the clubs back in August, 2008, and he has a healthy respect for Dons’ near neighbours.
Both teams were relegated from Sky Bet League One last season, but while MK have blossomed in the fourth tier under new boss Paul Tisdale and currently sit fourth in the table having lost just once all season, it has been a different story for the Cobblers.
A poor start to the season has seen Town flirting with the relegation zone, costing Dean Austin his job as manager at the end of last month, but they have enjoyed a boost in form under new boss Curle.
Town are on a four-match unbeaten run under their new manager, and make the short trip across the county border into Buckinghamshire on a high following their first home win of the season last Saturday.
And that, according to Lewington, is bad news for Milton Keynes.
“Northampton have picked up,” said the 34-year-old, who has played a remarkable 684 games for MK, having originally played for Wimbledon.
“I was quite surprised to see where they were really, from the games we played last season, they looked a decent outfit – especially when they played here.
“They made that change (of manager), because for whatever reason it wasn’t working for them, but since the new manager came in they’ve had some good results.
“They’ll come here full of confidence and it will make what would have already been a very hard game even more difficult because they’re starting to perform like they should.”
The Cobblers will be without midfielder Matt Crooks for Saturday’s game as he is suspended, and Junior Morias is still out with a hamstring injury. There are also injury converns over central defenders Ash Taylor and Leon Barnett.