Clarke Carlisle says Cobblers boss Aidy Boothroyd is ‘awesome’ at taking away the team’s Wembley distractions and shielding the squad from the associated hype.
Town held their media day for Saturday’s npower League Two play-off final on Monday and now all of the club’s preparations for the game against Bradford City will take place behind closed doors.
Such secrecy is done with one key objective in mind - to insulate the players from the excitement that surrounds a game in which league one football is the mouthwatering reward.
Carlisle, who won a play-off final with Burnley in 2009, believes that factor could make the difference between success and failure at the national stadium and that Boothroyd is just the man to ensure distractions are kept to a minimum.
“The biggest element of a Wembley final is not getting caught up in the sense of occasion and not getting there and thinking that is the achievement,” said Carlisle.
“There are so many distractions about a final, so many distractions about a showpiece event. The gaffer is awesome at taking those away.
“If you get a group of guys who can retain their focus as though it is just any other game, and keep things as normal as possible, that gives you the greatest opportunity to perform well.
“That’s a significant part of playing successfully at Wembley.”
Carlisle was a key part of the Town team that staved off the threat of relegation out of the Football League last season and returned to the club in November after a spell with York City.
But even after the club’s flirtation with non-League football last term, the defender was confident Boothroyd - with whom he worked at Watford - could bring the good times back to Sixfields.
“When I came here the first time around I told you exactly what I thought of Aidy Boothroyd and what he would be capable of achieving at this club,” he said.
“So no, I’m not surprised. I wholeheartedly believed that if we survived last season that we would go on to bigger and better things this year.
“What we’ve achieved so far is not a surprise but we really have to focus now and complete the goals we set ourselves.”