Justin Edinburgh believes the Cobblers can continue their impressive home form at Sixfields on Tuesday night (ko 7.45pm) - but has warned it is going to be a tough battle against a ‘rejuvenated’ Oldham Athletic.
The Latics travel to Northampton sitting fifth bottom in Sky Bet League One, two points above the relegation zone and four points behind 16th-placed Cobblers.
We know what to expect, and Oldham are a very, very hard-working side that don’t concede many goals and don’t score manyCobblers boss Justin Edinburgh
They are very much in the relegation mix, but their position now compared to when John Sheridan took over at Boundary Park is hugely improved.
Sheridan took control of Oldham on January 12 with the north west club sitting bottom of the table, but he has since steered them to five wins in his 10 matches in charge, losing just three, and dragged them out of the bottom four for the first time since mid-September.
“I think John has done a fantastic job at Oldham, and has lifted them off the floor,” said Edinburgh.
“He has rejuvenated them, they are on a very good run, and they are going to be a tough opponent.”
The fact Oldham are currently not in the bottom four is even more remarkable when you take into account they have only scored 21 goals in 34 league games this season, and only nine times in their 17 away matches.
It means they have scored eight fewer goals than the next lowest scorers (Coventry City) in the division, are the lowest scorers by some distance in the EFL, with only Middlesbrough (19) having scored fewer in the country - although the Premier League club have played eight games less.
What is keeping Oldham afloat is the fact they also boast the joint third best defensive record in league one, having conceded just 33 times (one more than Scunthorpe and Bradford City), and Edinburgh is anticipating a tight match.
“We know what to expect, and they are a very, very hard-working side that don’t concede many goals and don’t score many,” said the Town boss.
“You look at it and think that the first goal will be a pivotal moment in the game, not that it’s the be all and end all.
“We know it is going to be tough, but I think we have improved our home form, have had three consecutive victories, and our mindset is to try and make that four in a row on Tuesday.
“Oldham are dogged and determined, but they play some good stuff.
“I think they are probably one of the form teams in the division, and we have to be aware of that.
“But we have good form at home now, and I believe we are playing okay in periods.”
The trick now is to make the most of those periods of dominance, and Edinburgh added: “I don’t want to keep repeating myself, but when you do have those periods where you are on top in games, then we have to be coming out of those periods better than we are.
“It was a travesty that we were behind at half-time at Fleetwood on Saturday, and nobody would have thought 3-0 was a fair reflection of the game, but it’s where we are.
“It is why I was brought into the club, but obviously that change doesn’t happen overnight.
“Fleetwood have been together as a group for a while now, and they are now 17 unbeaten, but after Saturday I don’t think we are too far away from where we want to be, but there is still a long way to go.”