Midfielder Crooks urges Cobblers to maintain Sixfields ‘feelgood factor’

Matt Crooks believes things are looking up at Sixfields
Matt Crooks believes things are looking up at Sixfields
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Matt Crooks believes the Cobblers have to take advantage of the ‘feelgood factor’ around Sixfields in Saturday’s crunch relegation clash against Milton Keynes Dons (ko 3pm).

Town have endured a difficult season and spent most of it stuck in the bottom four of Sky Bet League One, which is where they currently sit, in 21st place.

Getting out of that bottom four is what we have been aspiring to do for a while now, and obviously the past two results have helped a lot in trying to do that... it is a nice incentive to go and win the game

Cobblers midfielder Matt Crooks

But spirits and confidence have been raised at Sixfields in the past couple of weeks, with back-to-back wins over Southend United and Bradford City, and a freshening up of the squad, with the introduction of six new players, and more set to sign on.

Momentum seems to be building for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s men, whereas the opposite is the case for Milton Keynes, whose woeful run of form has seen them drop into the relegation mire.

And Crooks says he and his Town team-mates have to continue the good work they have been doing.

“League one is a tough league this season, and there are a lot of big teams and big names,” said the former Rangers midfielder.

“All the games you play are going to be hard, so you need to scrap for every point you can get, and if you don’t pick up the points you are going to be down there.

“We are in decent position in that we have won our past two games, there is a feelgood factor about the place, and we have to kick on now as a team.

“The new faces have all come in, and hopefully that can help us to progress and to move up the table.”

Just two league wins since September, having collected only 13 points out of the past 48 available to them, Milton Keynes find themselves in 19th place, just one point above the Cobblers.

That means a Town win will see them leapfrog their new neighbours from Buckinghamshire, and Crooks is keen to take the chance to get out of the relegation zone.

“Getting out of that bottom four is what we have been aspiring to do for a while now, and obviously the past two results have helped a lot in trying to do that,” he said.

“Obviously MK are in and around it as well, it is a kind of local derby, and it is a nice incentive to go and win the game.”

Town’s latest signing, left-back Joe Bunney, could be in line for his debut against MK, while Richard O’Donnell and Jordan Turnbull are set to make their first appearances at Sixfields, having made their debuts in the 2-1 win at Valley Parade last weekend.

Those three have joined fellow new faces Hildeberton Pereira, Shay Facey and Jack Bridge in the squad, and Crooks admits the new signings have given the squad ‘a different energy’.

“Sometimes when new faces come in, it gives you fresh competition,” said Crooks, who celebrates his 24th birthday on Saturday.

“Sometimes it is good to have new people around the place to give you a different energy, so it is good.”

Players have also left the club, with the latest this week being Marc Richards, with the striker leaving the club to sign for league two promotion hopefuls Swindon Town.

Richards has been captain at Sixfields for the past three-and-a-half years, and Crooks admits his presence will be missed around the place.

“I got along really with Marc, he welcomed me to the group when I first joined, and it is sad to see him leave,” he said.

“But it happens in football, you see it a lot so you do get used to it, but I had a good relationship with so, so on a personal level I am sorry to see him go.

“I wish him the best of luck at Swindon, and I know he’ll do a great job there.”