Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink wants to see a positive response form his side on the back of Tuesday’s cup defeat when they host familiar foes Scunthorpe United on Saturday.
After back-to-back FA Cup games between the two, Town welcome their Lincolnshire counterparts to Sixfields for a third meeting in 15 days, this time in Sky Bet League One.
A goalless draw in the first cup game two weeks ago meant a replay at Glanford Park on Tuesday and with Scunthorpe progressing thanks to Hakeeb Adelakun’s superb first-half strike, the Cobblers will be keen to turn the tables and gain swift revenge.
Despite that defeat, Town are in good form as they bid for a fourth successive league victory following wins over Gillingham, Blackpool and Oxford United, and Hasselbaink wants his players to use Tuesday’s cup defeat as motivation to get one over Graham Alexander’s side.
“It’s about how you respond after a defeat,” he said. “It’s a moment for a team to show their character.
“Yes, we lost on Tuesday, but once again we do the same - we take the positives out of the game and we talk about those.
“We speak about the negatives as well and try to make sure we do them better in the next game and that’s what we will do.”
Adelakun’s 33rd minute goal condemned a much-changed Cobblers team to their first defeat in seven matches on Tuesday as they were deservedly knocked out of the FA Cup.
Hasselbaink lamented an ‘unacceptable’ first-half performance in that defeat but, with key players set to return on Saturday, he’s confident of building on Town’s excellent win at Oxford last weekend.
He added: “We don’t want a repeat (of that performance), we want better.
“We want to grow and work hard to grow.
“Scunthorpe are a top team and in the first-half on Tuesday we were well under. The second was a bit better but the first-half was not acceptable.”
Regan Poole, Matt Grimes and Matt Ingram are back in contention while Hasselbaink is hopeful Daniel Powell will also be fit but there are doubts over the fitness of Sam Hoskins and Alex Revell.