Self-belief the key to Cobblers’ surge up the league two table

Sam Hoskins
Sam Hoskins

Sam Hoskins has put the Cobblers’ upturn in fortune simply down to the growing self-belief and confidence among the squad.

The Cobblers travel to Cheltenham Town on Saturday aiming to extend their unbeaten run in Sky Bet League Two to nine games.

I think we are believing in ourselves more, and the more that comes out the more we feel we can put these performances together against any team in the league. We have always backed ourselves, but sometimes it doesn’t come off

Cobblers attacker Sam Hoskins

They are also targeting a fifth win in six matches, with last weekend’s 0-0 draw at Grimsby Town calling a halt to the team’s best winning run since the title success of 2016.

It has been a remarkable turnaround for the Cobblers, whose players were looking over their shoulders at relegation just a few weeks ago, but are now dreaming of an unlikely late-season charge into the promotion play-offs.

With eight games of the campaign remaining, Town are 11th in league two - their highest position of the season - and just six points off the top seven, so what has been the secret to the turnaround?

“I don’t know what’s changed really,” said Hoskins, whose double strike in the 2-1 win at Tranmere Rovers on February 5 kick-started the current run.

“I think we are believing in ourselves more, and the more that comes out the more we feel we can put these performances together against any team in the league.

“We have always backed ourselves, but sometimes it doesn’t come off.

“Whether we dropped our heads before I’m not sure, but now we are more confident and we are seeing the performances coming in and the points coming in.

“I can’t really put my finger on anything in particular that has changed, but it just confidence and belief coming into play.”

Town’s unbeaten run has certainly been no fluke, and Hoskins believes the team is finally starting to show the club’s supporters, and themselves, what they are truly capable of.

“It is always nice when you are winning games, but we are playing really good football at the minute as well,” said the former Yeovil Town man.

“We are showing the fans what we can do, and maybe earlier on in the season we weren’t putting those performances together.

“Recently we have been on a good run of form and winning games, although obviously Saturday was a bit disappointing.

“It was a good point away from home when you look at it, but we came away from the game thinking we could have taken all three points.”

It certainly seems to be a happy camp at the PTS Academy Stadium at the moment, and that is not something that can have been said too often since Chris Wilder left the club in May, 2016.

Hoskins is one of only three survivors from that team, with David Buchanan and John-Joe O’Toole the others, and he says a football club is always a better place to work when the results are going the right way.

“It does make a massive difference when you are winning games,” said the 25-year-old. “It is a nice place to be around.

“When the team is losing it is not so nice, even though you know you have the next game to make it right, but at the minute we are eight games unbeaten, and hopefully we can keep that run going.”