After a manic start to the season which has seen the Cobblers play nine times in just 29 days, you can understand why Rob Page is both relived and delighted to finally get some respite with no Tuesday fixture this week.
This week is the first time since last month’s season opener that Northampton have no midweek game and Page plans to use the time wisely by ironing out any kinks and building on Sunday’s win over MK Dons.
It will also allow the players an opportunity to rest and recuperate after a hectic first month of the season, with their next midweek game not until September 21 when Manchester United are in town for the EFL Cup third round.
“It’s fantastic,” admitted Page when asked about not having a midweek fixture for the first time. “The boys need a break.
“It’s ridiculous the amount of games they’ve played and that’s why I made the changes in the week.
“That’s no disrespect to the competition but Sunday was the game for us and those changes were justified by the result.
“I’m not saying that we accept the performance in the week but we made the right decisions to take it into Sunday.
“It’s nice to have a full week now and we can work on certain aspects.
“We’ll show them clips of Sunday’s game and then they’ll grow in confidence from that.”
Page also revealed that he never felt under pressure despite failing to win his first five league games as Northampton manager, and he was always confident that his team would come good and their first victory was only a matter of time.
That proved the case on Sunday when the Cobblers beat MK Dons 3-2 to collect their first three points of the campaign.
“I didn’t feel under pressure because I saw the signs were there,” added Page.
“Like I’ve always said in those five draws we’ve had, if you’ve got a solid base and you’re keeping clean sheets and drawing games, I’d rather do that than lose 2-0 and 3-0 and then have to justify it to the press that it’s a work in progress and we’ve just got to work on the attacking side of it.
“Fundamentally, you get the defensive side of it first because that gives you a foundation to go on and improve the attacking side of it.
On Sunday we played to our strengths and we showed that, on our day, we’ll be a match for any team in this division with what we’ve got in that team.Rob Page
“Thankfully on Sunday we played to our strengths and we showed that, on our day, we’ll be a match for any team in this division with what we’ve got in that team.
“So it’s about being consistent in our levels of performance now and making sure we recreate that performance next week and the week after and the week after.”