Cobblers boss Chris Wilder says his players will need no extra motivation to beat Luton Town this weekend as his bids to get the club’s play-off bid back on track.
Town lost to a 90th-minute goal at Kenilworth Road when the teams met in October, and to add salt to that particular wound it was scored for a former player, midfielder Luke Guttridge.
The travelling supporters had sung Guttridge’s name prior to kick-off that day but the applause turned to abuse when he celebrated vociferously in front of them.
The incident should add extra spice to a derby of sorts which is always intense and interesting, and with both teams out of form but targeting the play-offs, motivation on both sides should be in plentiful supply.
“They don’t need any motivation, it’s a fantastic game of football to be involved with and they won’t need the result earlier in the season to motivate them,” said Wilder.
“We haven’t had a problem with motivation, it’s been with giving away too many fouls, not passing the ball well enough and not defending set-pieces.
I don’t think it went down too well with our supporters when he (Guttridge) went down on his knees in front of them, having played for us for a couple of yearsCobblers boss Chris Wilder
“Professional footballers shouldn’t need any motivating, especially at this stage of the season and with so much at stake.
“There’s a chance for us to close the gap on the play-offs and it will be in front of a good crowd as well; anyone who isn’t up for it should be playing professionally.”
Wilder was keen to play down the Guttridge factor, although he did concede it had not been warmly received by the club’s supporters.
“We had a couple of really good chances to score in that game and then we got done in the 90th minute because we didn’t defend and we didn’t concentrate,” he said.
“I don’t think it went down too well with our supporters when he (Guttridge) went down on his knees in front of them, having played for us for a couple of years.
“That’s his personality. He was delighted to score a really important goal and they were going really well at the time.
“We’ve changed personnel since then and general we’ve done well to get as far up the league as we have done.
“In that period there were a lot of tight games that were decided by a single goal but there have been lots of changes in the squad and a change of attitude as well.”