Aidy Boothroyd praised Chris Hackett for the winger’s contribution to a win over Accrington in which the Cobblers manager admitted his side were below their best.
Hackett came back from a two-game absence with a calf injury and scored the first goal of a 2-0 win with an excellent free-kick from 20 yards.
Roy O’Donovan put the seal on the result with a second after a mistake by former Northampton goalkeeper Paul Rachubka.
Winger Hackett, arguably the team’s best attacking player, was taken off with 20 minutes of Saturday’s game to go to prevent him from the ‘burn-out’ his manager felt he was at risk of suffering.
“Chris [Hackett] needed a rest, he looked a bit rusty today, but he’s come back with a great goal,” said Boothroyd, whose team are now fourth in npower League Twp.
“He’s been brilliant all season and I don’t want to burn him out when we really need him.
“It’s the same with Bayo [Akinfenwa]. I don’t want to risk players when we don’t need to. We’ve got a tight group of players here, but one which is prepared to work from one another, even though they might not always be in the starting line-up.”
Accrington responded well to going behind and were perhaps the better side in the first half but Boothroyd felt the unplayable qualities of his strikers and the damage his team did in the opening 45 minutes proved the difference.
“I thought we deserved all three points, especially in the first half when Roy O’Donovan and Clive Platt were unplayable,” he said.
“It’s another three points but we know we’ll have to play a lot better than that. We got the first goal which was important for us but we didn’t play that well in the second half, although it was nice to keep another clean sheet.
“Accrington had nothing to lose in the second half and it took some decent saves from Lee Nicholls for us to keep a clean sheet.
“Roy (O’Donovan) has given us another dimension in attack and that’s an example of how strong our squad is. The quality on the bench shows how strong we are on the pitch.”