Dean Austin says he has no doubt about the heart and character of his Cobblers squad as they head into the new Sky Bet League Two season.
Town were relegated from league one in May, despite the squad being expensively assembled by then manager Justin Edinburgh the previous summer and then boosted again in the January transfer window.
It is the worst thing for a professional is to have your character and your desire questioned by your paying punters... but I think that we showed we had the heart and the desire in the final five games of last seasonCobblers boss Dean Austin
Performances were patchy to say the least under both Edinburgh and successor Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, with the team all too fleetingly showing what it was capable of.
As the team stumbled towards the drop, supporters were left scratching their heads at the lack of consistency, and some questioned the team’s desire and ‘ticker’.
There was a clear upturn in performances once Dean Austin took caretaker charge for the final games of the campaign, and although it was too little, too late, the fans liked what they saw.
So, clearly, did chairman Kelvin Thomas and the Cobblers board as they handed Austin the job on a permanent basis, and he has spent the summer preparing the squad for the new campaign, which kicks off on Saturday when Lincoln City are the visitors to the PTS Academy Stadium.
And the Town boss is in no doubt that each and every one of his players is going to be up for the fight of winning promotion this season.
“It is the worst thing for a professional is to have your character and your desire questioned by your paying punters,” said Austin, when asked if the players were prepared for what they are going to face in league two.
“We have spoken about that, but I think that we showed we had the heart and the desire in the final five games of last season.
“Other teams might look at it and try and use that in some of their motivation or meetings before games about what they need to do.
“But I don’t have any qualms with my group.
“I know what they are, I know they are a fantastic group of lads that come in every day and work their socks off no matter what the results are.”
And referring back to last season’s struggles, Austin added: “Momentum is a strange thing, and trying to regain momentum when you are having a bad run is very, very difficult.
“It wasn’t through the lack of trying last season, it was just the way it was.”