Austin expecting twists and turns, but believes three wins will secure Cobblers safety
Caretaker boss Dean Austin believes three wins from their final three games of the season will definitely be enough to see the Cobblers secure safety in Sky Bet League One.
Town secured their first win in 11 matches when they saw off Bury 3-2 last weekend, a result that has given the team a survival lifeline, but Austin’s men still have a huge mountain to climb if they are to save themselves.
The win over the Shakers saw the Cobblers move on to 43 points, and means that if they were to win their three remaining matches they would finish the season with 52 points.
There is no guarantee that even that total will be enough to see third-from-bottom Town avoid relegation, with the four teams directly above them, AFC Wimbledon (49pts), Walsall (48), Oldham Athletic (47) and Rochdale (46), all with a significant points advantage, as well as each of them having a game in hand on the Cobblers, as well as a much better goal difference.
On top of that, Milton Keynes Dons are one place and one point below the Cobblers, but they too have an extra game to play.
But Austin is in no doubt that if the Cobblers can win their final three games, starting with Plymouth Argyle on Saturday, then that will see them safe.
“For me, I believe that if we win all three games, then I don’t think there will be a problem,” said the Town caretaker boss.
“That is my opinion, as I think there are potentially so many twists and turns that could happen, I believe it has to be all about us and just trying to go out and win the next game.
“We have trained well, the boys are in decent spirits, and it is nice to see some smiles on faces, and they are enjoying the work, and enjoying the ideas we are trying to put across to them.
“I have been delighted with the application, but we now have to turn up on Saturday and perform, and I think if we do perform then we will win.”
Town follow the clash with seventh-placed Plymouth with a trip to felllow strugglers Walsall, before another side currently in the relegation mix, Oldham, come to Sixfields on the final day of the campaign.
If results go the Cobblers’ way elsewhere, then those two final games could be huge, but Austin isn’t going to start worrying about things he can’t control, and is simply concentrating on creating a positive vibe around Sixfields.
“I don’t like negativity, and I don’t like negative people around me, because I believe negativity breeds negativity, and that positivity breeds positivity,” said the former Watford coach.
“I am trying to bring a real positive ambience to the place, and what will be is going to be now.
“We can only do what we can do, so let’s take care of that and then let’s see where it takes us.”
League One - Remaining key fixtures
AFC Wimbledon (p 42, 49pts): Oldham (h), Wigan (a), Doncaster (a), Bury (h)
Walsall (p42, 48pts): Scunthorpe (a), Cobblers (h), Bradford City (a), Fleetwood (a)
Oldham (p42, 47pts): AFC Wimbledon (a), Southend (h), Doncaster (h), Cobblers (a)
Rochdale (p42, 46pts): Bradford (h), Plymouth (h), Oxford (a), Charlton (h)
Cobblers (p43, 43pts): Plymouth (h), Walsall (a), Oldham (h)
MK Dons (p42, 42pts): Southend (a), Bradford (a), Scunthorpe (h), Shrewsbury (a)