Aidy Boothroyd believes some of the Cobblers’ opponents are deliberately trying to get in-form winger Ishmel Demontagnac sent off.
The 24-year-old has been yellow-carded in Town’s past two matches to take his total number of bookings for the season to six.
Those two games have also seen Demontagnac in arguably his best form since joining the club, with the winger showing good discipline in completing his defensive duties on both occasions.
But the player’s dark side is never far away - he saw yellow for a reckless challenge against Oxford that he did not need to make, moments after he failed to receive a free-kick for what he felt was a foul against him.
It was a ‘red mist’ moment in similar style to the one that occurred at the end of the Accrington match, when Demontagnac and visiting full-back Nicky Hunt were involved in a confrontation that stopped the game and continued after the final whistle.
Boothroyd feels some teams are fully aware of the player’s reputation for such events and that they are using tactics of provocation to limit his effectiveness.
“Because of his past I think a lot of teams are trying to wind him up,” said the Cobblers boss.
“They are trying to have a little bit of afters with him but he stands his ground.
“He’s without doubt a talent and it’s about getting him consistent now and getting him producing the goods.
“We want him attacking and we also want him helping out his full-back by getting back and defending when he needs to.”
Demontagnac’s flashpoint in the win over Oxford came in the 68th when he fouled Shaun Batt after being denied a free-kick of his own at the other end.
The winger cut an incensed figure at that point, and Boothroyd was contemplating a tactical substitution.
“I was tempted to take him off but we needed his pace in the team,” he said.
“At the moment he’s managing to get back and defend, he’s managing to create things and he’s managing to start fights.
“Which is a nice trio of qualities to have.”