Cobblers boss Chris Wilder says there ‘will be no easing off’ from his players as they wrap up their Sky Bet League Two campaign at Portsmouth on Saturday.
The Town players enjoyed their title party to the full last weekend, first lifting the league two trophy at Sixfields on Saturday, and then attending the club’s end of season awards dinner on Sunday night.
We understand we are going to have to play well on Saturday to get a result, but there is no easing off from us. That epitomises the character and the focus that we all have in terms of wanting to win football matches.Cobblers boss Chris Wilder
With promotion and the title in the bag, the players could be forgiven for allowing their focus to drift off to thoughts about their summer holidays and long days on the beach.
But Wilder insists that will not be the case, and expects his team to give their all on the south coast.
A near full-house is expected at Fratton Park, with 3,000 travelling down from Northampton.
If that wasn’t inspiration enough, the Cobblers are striving to stretch their record unbeaten league run to 24 matches, and also grab the win that will see them match the club record 99-point haul for a season set by Graham Carr’s 1987 title winners.
There is also the little matter of denying Pompey a league double over the Cobblers - no team has as yet achieved that feat this season - with Wilder’s men’s most recent defeat that 2-1 loss to Paul Cook’s men at Sixfields way back on December 19.
“We had a great game against Portsmouth down here, but they turned us over,” said Wilder.
“The run that we have been on since then has been fantastic, and we want to keep going.
“We understand we are going to have to play well on Saturday to get a result, but there is no easing off from us.
“That epitomises the character and the focus that we all have in terms of wanting to win football matches.”
On the face of it, there isn’t too much to play for on Saturday, with the Cobblers champions and injury-ravaged Pompey guaranteed a play-off semi-final against Plymouth Argyle.
But Wilder insists the competitive instincts in both camps will kick in, and he said: “We don’t want to lose, we don’t like losing, and Paul at Portsmouth is the same, and his players are the same.
“They don’t want to go out in front of 20,000 people and be on the receiving end of a bad result.
“However full tilt the game is we will wait and see, but we are all professional and there are still three points to play for.
“I think that’s difficult to take out of Paul and his coaching staff, and myself and my coaching staff, and then you move on to the players.
“It will be difficult for them to say ‘let’s calm down and just go through the motions’. They haven’t been like that all season, and we want to finish this season on a high.”