Cobblers boss Wilder praises ‘quality’ defence

WELL PLAYED - Cobblers boss Chris Wilder congratulates Ricky Holmes on his performance in the win over Portsmouth (Pictures: Sharon Lucey)
WELL PLAYED - Cobblers boss Chris Wilder congratulates Ricky Holmes on his performance in the win over Portsmouth (Pictures: Sharon Lucey)
  • Wilder delighted as Town keep clean sheet against strong Pompey side
  • Cobblers boss happy as his side handle the pressure to win
  • Town manager praises Holmes for his performance against former club

Chris Wilder praised the defensive qualities of his Cobblers side as they beat Portsmouth to collect an eighth win in 10 games.

Northampton are in the midst of a superb run of form and continued it with a 1-0 victory over a similarly on-song Pompey, who went to Sixfields unbeaten in seven, with former Fratton Park favourite Ricky Holmes the man on target.

But it came after a late storm had been weathered and during which the visitors poured forward; Town certainly had to earn their clean sheet in this game and it was no surprise to hear Wilder extolling the virtues of his back-line in his post-match assessment.

“We’ve played some great football this season but tonight it was the quality of our defence which was so important,” he said.

“We like to go at teams but sometimes sides push us back and we have to be able to handle that.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to show those qualities without the ball to try and keep the it out of the net and we had to deal with a big threat in the second half.

“Portsmouth have been on a great run and coming on the back of our win at Shrewsbury it was always going to be another tough test.

“Portsmouth might feel unlucky but we’ll take it because this was a really big game for us.

“We had the better of the first half but Portsmouth were on top in the second half and we were not very good with the ball. They’ve got some great players.”

Holmes was never far from the spotlight against the club he left in January to sign for the Cobblers, receiving some stick from the travelling fans but ultimately delighting the home supporters with a weaving run and finish on 25 minutes.

Portsmouth might feel unlucky but we’ll take it because this was a really big game for us

Cobblers boss Chris Wilder

“He didn’t have to pretend that his calves had tightened up, he could have just told me he wanted a standing ovation from the crowd,” joked Wilder.

“I’d have taken him off then and he could have got it.

“But no, he was outstanding, I know what it’s like when the pressure is on a player against his old club and sometimes it can go wrong.

“Every player has put in a great effort for the team and we’ve got some very tired players in the dressing room.”