Cobblers “must get better” admits skipper Richards

Marc Richards now has three goals this season, including this one against Exeter
Marc Richards now has three goals this season, including this one against Exeter

Northampton captain Marc Richards admits the Cobblers “must get better” if they are to have any chance of promotion this season following a “bang average” start to the campaign.

After Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Accrington Stanley, Northampton have two wins, two defeats and one draw from their five opening games to leave them sitting 11th in Sky Bet League Two on seven points.

“It’s a bang average start,” said Richards. “If we want to get out of this league we must get better.

“We started well with two good results but we should have done better against Plymouth and if we’re going to do anything this year we should be coming to places like Accrington and taking three points.

“That’s no disrespect to Accrington, who have some quality players, but we’ve got to get a result.

“We’ve got to keep the togetherness we have here. We’ve a great team spirit in the dressing room.

“We’ve shown we can keep clean sheets and score goals but now we’ve got to go back to basics and put in a lot of work on the training ground.

“The gaffer’s got a few ideas and we have a couple games coming up this week. We have to stay positive and keep plodding on and creating chances.”

It was Richards who broke the deadlock on Saturday when his delicate dinked effort from a tight angle looped over Jason Mooney in the home goal and nestled into the net.

“It sort of came out of nothing really,” he added. “It was a long hopeful ball forward and I managed to get my body in between the ball and the defender and I had it in my head that the keeper wouldn’t expect me to shoot.

“I’ve scored one similar to that in my career and thankfully it had enough on it to get over the keeper and see it nestle in the far corner.

“I knew it had a chance when I hit it. He’s a big keeper and I was obviously delighted to see it go in.

“The main aim this season is to get promoted. If I don’t score again this season and we get promoted then it’ll be a successful season.”

Up until Richards’ goal, the Cobblers were second best with Accrington spurning a string of decent chances in the first half.

It was more of the same after the break and Stanley finally capitalised on their good play through Josh Windass’ penalty, however if any team looked like taking all three points thereafter, it was Northampton who were repeatedly thwarted by a number of fine saves from Mooney.

Richards added: “I think the last 20 minutes we did deserved to win it but previous to that we were well off it. We didn’t control the game at all and they were the better team and had more chances.

“We opened them up and created chances in the last 20 minutes or so and I think we can take some positives from that, but we’ve got to do it in more of the game and not just at the end.”

Next up for the Cobblers is a return to Sixfields when they host Colchester United in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday evening, and Richards is keen to feature.

“I’m always chomping at the bit to play as many games as possible,” he continued. “It’s ultimately up to the gaffer and what he wants to do.

“If he wants me to play I’ll certainly be ready and I’ll prepare as well as I can and how I’d normally prepare.

“If the gaffer wants to rest a few players then he’s got the opportunity to do so but it’s a good game to play in and a chance for us to build some confidence and go and win a game.

“Winning games breeds confidence so if we can win on Tuesday then we’ll be able to take that into Saturday.”