Goalkeeper Jalal says Cobblers are ‘still in’ the play-off race

STILL DREAMING - Cobblers goalkeeper Shwan Jalal (Picture: Sharon Lucey)
STILL DREAMING - Cobblers goalkeeper Shwan Jalal (Picture: Sharon Lucey)

Goalkeeper Shwan Jalal insists the Cobblers are still in the race for the Sky Bet League Two play-offs.

With two games of the season remaining, Chris Wilder’s men are 10th and four points behind seventh-placed Plymouth Argyle, and the Devon side also have a far superior goal difference.

We have been talking like we’re out of it, but when you look at it you never know. It is still mathematically possible, so all we have to do is keep going.

Cobblers goalkeeper Shwan Jalal

Eighth-placed Luton also have a four-point advantage over the Cobblers, while ninth-placed Newport County are a point better off, so the chances of Town reaching the play-offs are obviously slim, but Jalal says the Cobblers are ‘still in it’, and that they will be going for two wins from the final two games.

“We are still in it. With two games to go, weirder things have happened,” said Jalal, who made his home debut in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Cheltenham Town.

“We have been talking like we’re out of it, but when you look at it you never know.

“It is still mathematically possible, so all we have to do is keep going.

“The last two games are tough, away at Burton and at home to Wycombe, and there will be a lot riding for Wycombe on that final game, so we have to see what happens.

“You never know, because things can change so quickly in football.”

Jalal has now played two games for the Cobblers having replaced Matt Duke as first choice in midweek at Oxford United, and Saturday was his first clean sheet for the club.

The 31-year-old admitted it wasn’t the busiest day for him, and paid tribute to the Town defence.

“I didn’t have too much to do, but I think that’s testament to the back four,” said Jalal.

“Lee (Collins) and Zander (Diamond) put in a towering performance, with some of the headers they won and the way they organised the people in front of them.

“If I can keep going through games without making saves, the more the better.

“I was happy with a couple of crosses that I came and took, because it was a bit of a swirly wind.

“A couple of kicks did go astray, but overall I am happy, and if we can go every game without me having to make saves then we will be doing something right.”

The closest Cheltenham came to scoring was when Joe Hanks smashed a shot against the bar with the score still at 0-0, and when Mathieu Manset volleyed into Jalal’s arms two minutes from time.

And Jalal revealed he was prepared for Hanks’ thunderbolt.

“I know Joe Hanks can hit the ball, because he did it to me on the first day of the season, he stuck one in the top corner,” said the shot-stopper.

“As soon as he was on the ball I was on my guard, but it was a great strike.

“Then there was the chance that Manset had, but fortunately he hit it straight at me.

“So we have limited them to two chances which is a good day at the office, but there is always room for improvement.”