It took many by surprise at the time but Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s recent decision to switch formations and play 3-5-2 has been to the benefit of several players, including centre-back Jordan Turnbull.
Having moved away from his preferred 4-4-1-1 system, the Cobblers boss first went with three at the back for last week’s game against Shrewsbury Town, and the performance from his side in the subsequent 1-1 draw tempted him to play it again at Fleetwood on Saturday.
And while it was far less effective on this occasion as Northampton were deservedly beaten 2-0 by Fleetwood, Turnbull feels it’s the right way to go for the rest of the season.
“We tried it for the first time on Tuesday and it worked really, really well,” he said.
“There were obviously good spells and bad spells on Saturday. We conceded two goals, one from a corner, but if we move forward with it, it can be a great formation.
“I think the players are happy with it and the more we play with it and the more we work on it, the better we’ll be.
I like to get the ball, drive out from the back and pick passes and I think that’ll happen more often when the team are more comfortable in possession and we know exactly what we’re doing.
“It’s early days. We’ve only played two games in the formation and trained with it for less than a week now but it’s something that can bring another dimension to our team and hopefully it works going forward.”
Alongside Brendan Moloney and captain Ash Taylor, Turnbull has so far looked settled and comfortable playing as the left centre-back of the three central defenders, and the team in general have been a little more solid.
“I’ve played three at the back quite a bit before,” revealed the 23-year-old. “I went to Swindon on loan two years in a row and we played that formation for most of the time.
“So I’m really comfortable in the position and the more the team work on it and the more we play with it, the players will feel more confident to express themselves.
“I like to get on the ball, drive out from the back and pick passes and I think that’ll happen more often when the team are more comfortable in possession and we know exactly what we’re doing.”
Turnbull is one of 11 players who have signed for the Cobblers since New Year’s Day, but despite an initial upturn in results, Hasselbaink’s new recruits have failed to do the business consistently enough, leaving them in the bottom four.
“We came here to help the club survive,” continued the centre-back. “I can only speak for the time I’ve been here but the lads have been excellent and our form hasn’t been the worst.
“We’ve picked up some points, especially when I first came here and we’ve had a lot of draws and our away form has been excellent.
“We need to continue that and we’ll start again this week.”