Sky's the limit as Page urges Cobblers to shine on the big stage against MK
Rob Page wants his players to show the nation exactly how good they are as the Cobblers prepare to be the main event on Sky Sports twice in the space of a 17 days.
Northampton host Milton Keynes Dons live on Sky at Sixfields on Sunday (ko midday) and in just over a fortnight’s time (Sept 21) they will be the centre of attention again as Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United come to town in the EFL Cup third round.
The Cobblers have enjoyed a solid start to the season, drawing all five of their Sky Bet League One games, but they have shone in the EFL Cup, winning 2-1 at Championship Barsley and then beating Premier League West Bromwich Albion on penalties at Sixfields.
And Page wants his team to replicate that form when the cameras start rolling.
Asked if it’s a chance to show the nation what they are all about, Page said: “We did that against West Brom.
“I thought we gave a really good account of ourselves in that game, and it is no different on Sunday, live on telly.
“It’s a great opportunity, and that is why we are in the game as coaches, managers and certainly players, you want to be able to go out and show the world what you can do, and we have some fantastic fixtures coming up on Sky.”
The Cobblers take on Milton Keynes looking for their first league win over their near neighbours.
Town have enjoyed a single Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win over MK, but have yet to claim three points in a league clash, losing both matches played in the 2008/09 season 1-0.
The teams’ most recent meeting was in the FA Cup in January when MK won a third-round replay 3-0, with the teams - then two divisions apart - having drawn 2-2 at Sixfields.
Page says he knows exactly what to expect from Karl Robinson’s team, who have endured a mixed start to the season following their relegation from the Championship last season, and were beaten 2-0 at home by Peterborough in their most recent league game.
“I have played against Karl Robinson’s teams a couple of seasons back, and they do like to get the ball down and play, keep it and build up from the back,” said the Cobblers boss. “We are fully aware of what he does.
“They are coming into the game off the back of a disappointing defeat against Peterborough at home, so Karl will be looking for an improvement and a response, and so are we (after Tuesday’s EFL Trophy loss to Wycombe).
“So that should make for an entertaining game.”
And he added: “It is a great game for us, it’s a local derby, it’s on the telly and it is a fantastic fixture.
“They have had an indifferent start to the season, so they will be looking for the win, and so are we.
“We have had an okay start, but we are looking for that first league win, and we are hoping it comes on Sunday.”
That opening victory has proved frustratingly elusive so far for Page and his players, but the Welshman is confident it will arrive, and sooner rather than later.
“It will come because we are seeing signs of it,” he said. “We have taken the lead in a couple of games, and it is frustrating that we haven’t held on to those leads.
“The goals that we have conceded have been frustrating because they have been more down to individual errors than teams carving us open.
“If teams were carving us open that would be a worry, but if it is indiviual errors we can correct that by either making changes, or working with that individual.
“We could have another four points on the board in my opinion because I think we could have won our home games.”
Those home games to date have resulted in a 1-1 draw versus Fleetwood, and a 0-0 draw against AFC Wimbledon, and Page will be hoping his players can break their win duck on Sunday.