Relieved Hoskins answers his critics and repays his manager's faith with Oxford winner
Even after seven years at the club, no player divides Cobblers fans quite like Sam Hoskins but on Tuesday evening everyone was united in their praise of his match-winning performance against Oxford United.
It was the perfect way for Hoskins to repay his manager's faith and silence his critics. Indeed, only 24 hours earlier, Jon Brady had launched a strong defence of the forward's value to the Cobblers in response to mounting criticism from a section of supporters on social media.
The 28-year-old, making his 235th appearance for the club, was Town’s main creative force in the first-half of Tuesday's game and then their match-winner in the second, securing three vital points with an excellent finish from Danny Rose’s terrific assist.
“It does give you confidence seeing the manager say that,” said Hoskins. “ I did read the article about my goal drought so it was nice to score a day after that was published.
“Jon had a word with me after the game and said he gave his full backing to me.
“It’s not nice going through spells when you’re not scoring as an attacking player but ultimately I’ve got to help the team in any way I can and thankfully I scored the goal that got us three points.”
The article Hoskins refers to was on the Chron’s website on Monday evening and had been published after Brady was asked about the forward's importance to the side given the frequency with each he starts.
Of Northampton's last 94 league games, going back to December 2018, Hoskins has started 90 of them.
He added: “I wouldn’t say it (the article) made me more determined – it’s not like I go into any game trying not to score!
“I know you have to write something about someone and it just so happened that it fell a day before I scored the winning goal, but it’s my job at the end of the day.
“I need to create goals and score goals and I think we could have had three or four on the night, especially in the first-half because we created a few chances.
“It could have been anyone who got the goal but luckily it was me and now we need to take confidence from this and take it into Saturday.”
The winning goal against Oxford was well-worked and well-finished and Hoskins revealed it was also the result of practise on the training pitch.
“We had a few throw-ins in the attacking third which we actually did work on in training on Monday and they came off,” he continued.
“It worked out for the goal. Peter (Kioso) and Rosey linked up really well and I ran onto Rosey’s flick-on and managed to put the ball in the back of the net.
“It was something we worked on and I thought Rosey was top drawer. It’s been quite difficult for him being in and out of the team but it’s credit to him to come into the team and produce a performance like that.”