O'Donnell declares Cobblers are '˜showing strength at the right time' as they head to Walsall
Two wins down, two to go... that is the season-saving equation facing the Cobblers as they gear up for their final games of the Sky Bet League One campaign - and goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell says he and his team-mates are '˜showing strength at the right time'.
Although their destiny if not yet in their own hands, Town travel to fellow strugglers Walsall on Saturday knowing a win will see them leapfrog their relegation rivals in the table.
Victory could even see the Cobblers clamber out of the bottom four, depending on other results, and with a home game to come on the final day of the season against another side currently in the bottom four, Oldham Athletic, there is genuine light at the end of the tunnel.
There was nothing but darkness following the 3-0 defeat at Blackpool a fortnight ago, Town’s 10th game without a win, but the back-to-back victories over Bury and Plymouth have boosted belief, on and off the pitch.
The Cobblers will also be backed by a 2,000-strong travelling army of supporters on Saturday, and O’Donnell believes momentum is with Dean Austin’s men.
“We are showing strength at the right time, and we need to capitalise on that,” said O’Donnell, a January transfer window signing from Rotherham United.
“We knew two games ago that we needed to win four games out of four, and so far we have won two out of two.
“Now we need to go and win another two out of two, it’s as simple as that.
“We know we need to win them, so there is no point going to Walsall and playing for a draw because it won’t be good enough.”
And he added: “After the past couple of wins, everybody is going to be happier when you are winning games, so you see that on the training pitch.
“Deano (Dean Austin) has put a lot of hard work into us, but everybody is enjoying it at the same time.
“The messages he is trying to put across to us are coming off on the pitch, and with two games left we need to carry that on.”
Saturday will be extra special for O’Donnell as he returns to one of his former clubs.
The goalkeeper played at the Bescot Stadium for two seasons from 2013-2015, making more than 100 appearances, and was voted players’ player of the year in both of his seasons there - and the supporters’ player of the year in the second.
“I have been back and sat on the bench a couple of times, but I haven’t actually played there so I am looking forward to going back and playing,” said O’Donnell, who admits he is not sure what sort of welcome he will get from the Walsall supporters.
“I would hope I will get a good reception, but you never know do you?
“Maybe with the situation both teams are in, it might not be as good if we were in another situation, so I’m not too sure.
“All I would say is that everywhere I have been as a player, I have given everything to the football club, and that was certainly the case at Walsall.”