’Real belief’ could be the key in Cobblers survival battle, says O’Donnell

Cobblers goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell
Cobblers goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell

Goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell says the Cobblers players and supporters now have ‘real belief’ that the team can complete the great escape and save their Sky Bet League One skins.

Just a fortnight ago, following a miserable 3-0 defeat at Blackpool, Town looked dead and buried and were seemingly staring relegation in the face as they made it 10 matches without a win.

But two matches and two crucial victories later, allied to their rivals slipping up and failing to make the most of their games in hand, the Cobblers have a genuine chance of avoiding the drop.

There is obviously still a lot of work to do, with 22nd-placed Town knowing they are going to have to win their remaining two matches of the campaign, against relegation rivals Walsall and Oldham Athletic, but O’Donnell is in bullish mood.

“You can see it on the pitch, and you can see it with the fans as well, they have real belief that we can do it,” said the former Rotherham United shot-stopper.

“The lads have got massive belief that we can do it, and it is just about replicating the performance we put in on Saturday (in the 2-0 win over Plymouth), with the work-rate as well that we put in.

The lads have got massive belief that we can do it, and it is just about replicating the performance we put in on Saturday

Cobblers goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell

“We know we have the fans behind us as well, which is massive, and hopefully we can take it to the last game of the season.”

An army of 2,000 Cobblers supporters will be travelling to the Bescot for Saturday’s must-win clash with Walsall, who are one of O’Donnell’s former clubs.

The 29-year-old was blown away by the support from the stands suring last weekend’s win over Plymouth, and he is keen for more of the same this weekend.

“The atmosphere last weekend was the best since I have been here, although it was very good against Milton Keynes as well, and it just shows the difference it can make having a good crowd getting behind us,” said O’Donnell.

“They have done that for the majority of the season to be fair, but we gave them something to cheer about with our performance, and you could tell the whole place was lifted.

“That kind of atmosphere can only help the lads.”

Another bonus for O’Donnell last weekend was a rare Town clean sheet, a thing that has been in short supply since the goalkeeper made the move to Sixfields in the January transfer window.

And while he would love to manage a couple more as the season draws to a close, teh Sheffield-born player admits he doesn’t care how many goals he lets in, as long as the Cobblers get the wins they need to stay up.

“That is two (clean sheets) in 17 matches, and I would have obviously liked to have kept more,” said O’Donnell.

“I suppose when you are down at the bottom of the league you are not going to keep too many clean sheets, and I would take two 5-4 wins in the final two games of the season.

“I am not really fussed how the three points come in these games, as long as they come, that is the main thing.”