Oliver in warning to his Cobblers team-mates ahead of Notts County FA Cup clash
Vadaine Oliver is warning his Cobblers team-mates they are going to have to be at their best to secure a place in the FA Cup third round draw.
Town entertain non-League side Notts County in the second round at the PTS Academy Stadium on Sunday (ko 2pm), and will go into the game as big favourites.
Keith Curle’s men are on a seven-match unbeaten run, winning six of those games, and have stormed into the promotion picture at the top of Sky Bet League Two.
The Magpies started the season well, but have suffered a couple of blips in recent weeks to lose some ground in the promotion race in the National League.
On Saturday they suffered a second successive league defeat, going down 2-1 at Aldershot a week after being battered 3-0 at home by leaders Barrow. On Tuesday they were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Boreham Wood - failing to win despite taking a 2-1 lead in stoppage time.
Connor Rawlinson then gave away a penalty and was sent-off, and Boreham Wood levelled with a late, late strike.
But as a former County player, Oliver knows they will be up for the Cup this weekend.
The 28-year-old spent six months on loan at Meadow Lane in the 2016/17 season.
He only scored once in his time there, but he enjoyed the loan spell, and knows that, despite their surprise relegation from the Football League last season, it is a club with great potential.
He is expecting Neal Ardley to have his team well drilled and motivated for their trip to Northampton.
“It is always nice to play against a former team, but let’s be clear they will be a good side,” said Oliver when asked if he was looking forward to taking on his former club.
“It is not a game that we can take lightly.
“We can’t think it is in our back yard, they are a league below us, so we will roll them over. No way.
“It is a performance we need to be ready for and to take very seriously. It is great to go on an FA Cup run, so hopefully we can do that.”
A summer signing from Morecambe, until recent weeks Oliver had found his chances limited at the PTS.
But he has started Town’s past three games, having taken his chance with a double strike in the 3-0 FA Cup win at Chippenham Town on November 10, and is hoping he can keep his place in the team to keep 'the ball rolling’.
“That was only my fifth start, but I think the Chippenham game got the ball rolling,” said Oliver.
“As a centre forward, you always feel better once you are starting games and you get into a run of things.
“I feel like I am getting there now, although the fitness is still a little bit lacking and towards the 70-75 minute mark I was starting to feel it on Saturday.
“But that comes with games, and I am enjoying my football as is the whole team, we are all enjoying it right now.
“It’s a great wave to be on.”