Cobblers boss Boothroyd looking beyond the play-offs

Although the Cobblers have built a seven-point gap between themselves and the team just outside the play-off places, manager Aidy Boothroyd is setting his sights higher.

Successive 1-0 wins at Sixfields, over Plymouth Argyle and Bristol Rovers, have solidified Town’s fourth place in npower League Two, and there are now seven points between them and Fleetwood, in eighth.

It is looking increasingly likely that the team will be involved in the play-offs this season but Boothroyd is not ruling out not only a tilt at automatic promotion, but maybe even more.

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“I’m looking above that level (the play-offs), I’m looking at the fact we’re only five points off Port Vale and only seven off Gillingham,” said Boothroyd, who takes his team to Exeter City on Saturday on the back of a four-point haul from their past two away games.

“I don’t want us to worry about what’s below us, I want everybody to be looking up at where we could be.

“We’re a forward looking team and we play all the big hitters away from home in our run-in.

“Our home form has been excellent and the credit for that has to go to the players for their ability to grind out results.

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“The last time I got promoted we had 11 away wins and 11 home wins and we haven’t got the away wins I would have liked but we are strong at home and teams come here now trying to stop us.”

The Cobblers have rediscovered a defensive resilience in the past two games, collecting clean sheets in back-to-back 1-0 wins in which goalkeeper Lee Nicholls was rarely tested.

Although Clarke Carlisle endured a difficult time in the first of those fixtures, he returned to form in the Bristol Rovers win, earning the praise of his manager in the process.

“I think he (Carlisle) had his boots on the wrong feet on Saturday but he got back to what he is capable of in the win on Tuesday night,” he said.

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“He and Kelvin Langmead have been a big part of what we’ve done so far this season and it was great for them to get back-to-back clean sheets in our last two games.

“Lee Nicholls did very well and the back four have looked very solid recently. We do feel we can score at any time and it’s a good combination to have.”