Aidy Boothroyd says he congratulated abrasive Fleetwood midfielder Alex Marrow after Saturday’s game and wants his Cobblers players to learn from his confrontational playing style.
Marrow upset the home supporters with a series of strong challenges with one on Chris Hackett drawing strong criticism from the west stand.
The midfielder also had plenty to say for himself in a game in which referee Rob Lewis increasingly struggled to assert control as it proceeded, and Boothroyd wants his players to take a leaf out of Marrow’s book and develop a nasty side to their game.
“He (Marrow) overstepped the mark a couple of times but that’s another thing we’ve got to get used to,” he said. “Teams will try to stop us playing and they’ll come up with game plans to do that.
“They’ll target Chris Hackett, they’ll try to kick him and they’ll try to upset our front players and that’s all part of it.
“That is a compliment to us. To every problem we come up against we have to find solutions to it.
“I wouldn’t be pointing any fingers at Marrow, I liked him and I told him at the end that I liked what he did. He had a terrific performance and he certainly brought the best out in our two.”
One of those two was Luke Guttridge, who made his first start since October and turned in a display that had plenty of spite of its own.
Guttridge’s argumentative nature has been missed in central midfield while Lewis Hornby has been playing - as good as Hornby is he does not possess Guttridge’s terrier-like qualities and Boothroyd would like to see more of his squad adopt those principles.
“Some players have got that nastiness and Luke Guttridge has got a little edge to him,” he said. “When you go into a tackle with him you’re not sure what it’s going to be like and I think every team needs one of them.
“They need that horrible person to play against. Some people, like Luke, are nice off the pitch and horrible on it and you’ve got to be an animal like that.
“On Saturday we showed that we can impose ourselves psychologically and physically on the opposition and the more we do that the more people won’t want to play against us.”