Stevenage caretaker manager Darren Sarll has promised league leaders Cobblers they are in for a ‘competitive’ encounter against his struggling team at Broadhall Way on Saturday afternoon.
The Hertfordshire side have dropped to third bottom in Sky Bet League Two and have lost four games on the spin, without scoring a goal.
They are a team that have won just twice in their past 15 games, a run stretching back to mid-December, and the Cobblers, who are unbeaten in 14 league matches, will be big favourites to claim three points.
Sarll knows that his team face a challenge against Chris Wilder’s table-toppers, but he is taking encouragement from the meeting between the sides at Sixfields earlier in the season, when second half goals from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Alfie Potter saw the Cobblers fight back to win 2-1, having been 1-0 down at the break.
The caretaker-boss, who has won two and lost five of his games in charge since taking over from Teddy Sheringham when he was sacked at the end of January, is in bullish mood about this weekend’s game.
“We go into every game with the belief that we can win it,” said Sarll.
“This is going to be a competitive game for us, and we are going to make it competitive.
“It is at our place and we have to make sure that we inspire those that decide to come and watch us a three o’clock.”
Like Wilder, Sarll has had a free week to work with his players ahead of Saturday’s game, and he has been instilling into his players how important it is they get off to a good start against the Cobblers.
“It is going to be important we start at our tempo and to try and get a foothold in the game,” said the Stevenage caretaker boss.
“Then we have to try and dominate, and in the last two matches we haven’t dominated enough.
“We haven’t sent a message to the opposition to say ‘this is how we play and this is what we are going to do’, and we have to do that.
“The first thing on Saturday will be to assert our dominance on the opposition, regardless of whether it’s Northampton, Accrington or whoever.
“We have to get back to being that free-flowing, positive side that has that bit of steel.
“I have always said my sides have a bit of steel, and that is going to have to be evident more now than ever.”