Jefferson Lake’s Northampton Town v Scunthorpe United preview

IN NEED OF A WIN - Cobblers boss Aidy Boothroyd
IN NEED OF A WIN - Cobblers boss Aidy Boothroyd

Matt Heath was resolute when he was asked, on the touchline at stadium:mk on Tuesday night, whether he felt the Cobblers were under any pressure to beat Scunthorpe United on Saturday.

Blinking in the daylight-like brilliance of a million watts of Buckinghamshire electricity, the towering centre-back must have said the word ‘no’ at least five times.

He’s right, of course – there is no pressure on any football match in the first week of September, unless it involves qualification for a European competition.

And to start talking about a game being in the must-win category when there are 41 more league fixtures to come (that’s 123 league points at stake, for anyone short of a calculator) is probably a little bit ridiculous.

But the Cobblers, from a public relations point of view, really could do with putting three points on the board this weekend.

There is a small minority of supporters who are growing increasingly concerned about affairs on the field and rightly so, considering the side has been beaten in six of their seven matches to date, by teams varying in terms of both overall quality and style.

And the small minority is growing, too.

While there may not be a Wembley hangover among the squad (most of whom have been changed, so that argument really doesn’t stand up anyway), the play-off final capitulation seems to have sent a ripple of discontent across the supporters.

Again, this is not helped by the poor start to the current campaign.

Aidy Boothroyd has spoken at length this week about how he will stick to the blueprint he laid out for his project at Sixfields when he arrived at the club almost two years ago.

His first two objectives – to keep the team in the league and to then make them hard to beat and capable of winning games – were both completed and because of that he deserves to be given the required time to complete objective number three – to win games and win them by playing entertaining football.

That time should be until the end of the current season at least, but he will also know that football doesn’t work like that, that so often the emotions of the paying public, the lifeblood of the sport, are altered by what happens on that little rectangle of green on a Saturday afternoon.

And that’s why he could do with a win on Saturday.

No game in September is ever a must-win, but for the manager’s long-term plans, and for the short-term sanity of some of the supporters, three points on Saturday would be very handy indeed.