Northampton Town: Sammo wants to know who's up for the fight?

Ian Sampson has called for his team to show the leadership skills required to get them through the next week.

Town face a tough schedule in the following seven days, playing host to Southampton in the FA Cup second round at Sixfields on Saturday.

Then on Tuesday they face a vital league game against Hereford United in what is likely to see another sub-4,000 home crowd.

The low gates aren't helping Sampson in his first job as a football manager, both in a psychological and financial sense.

The recession is hitting the club hard, with many supporters choosing to stay away until either the economy or the team's results pick up.

Until that happens the chairman is unlikely to be signing too many cheques for new blood at Sixfields, and so Sampson will be left with what he's got.

Which, after another fresh raft of injuries and a savage blow to the collective confidence at Aldershot on Tuesday night, is a squad on something of a low.

Sampson's managerial qualities, then, face a stern test in the next few days.

"You have to deal with these things but hopefully it will turn around," he said. "In a couple of weeks we could be talking about how well things are going.

"Tuesday night was a kick in the teeth but it should make us all stronger as people and as individuals.

"I'm not a psychologist and I don't know what's going on in their heads but we'll see who the leaders are and hopefully that's more of them than it's not."

Adebayo Akinfenwa was 50-50 to play at the Recreation Ground but declared himself fit and put in 51 minutes before limping off to be reunited with an ice pack.

Chris McCready, too, finished the contest on the sick list, not with the twisted blood that George Best allegedly used to give defenders, but with a hamstring strain that occurred while Marvin Morgan picked his pocket for the winning goal.

These fresh problems make it a laundry list of injuries for Sampson, who already has Dean Beckwith and Courtney Herbert out, and who received some more bad news with the latest bulletin on Liam Davis.

"He's had a recurrence of the stress fracture in his foot," confirmed Sampson.

"He looked to have recovered but it was still troubling him so we've had it scanned and it's another three weeks out.

"It hadn't fully healed so he'll take it easy for three weeks and then we'll have him scanned again.

"Chris (McCready) will be out for two weeks so we definitely won't have him for Saturday.

"John Johnson will be 50-50 for the weekend, he's gone back to Middlesbrough for some treatment.

"The report we've had back from their physio is that he's got half a chance of playing against Southampton, so we'll see on that one."

Despite the mounting problems, Sampson allowed himself a smile in the aftermath of Tuesday's game.

That's because if he comes through this difficult period well, he will have gone a long way to proving his worth to those in power at the club, not too mention the supporters.