Knill says high-flying Cobblers ready for Crawley test

DANGER MAN - Crawley Town's Rhys Murphy
DANGER MAN - Crawley Town's Rhys Murphy

Assistant boss Alan Knill says in-form Cobblers have to pay Crawley Town total respect when the two sides meet on Tuesday or they will be asking for trouble.

The Cobblers are flying at the moment, having lost just once in Sky Bet League Two since September 5, a run of form that has seen them rise to third place in the table, just four points behind leaders Plymouth Argyle.

A glance at the table and you see Crawley are down in 14th place, and you would imagine the Cobblers are big favourites for another win.

But Knill doesn’t see it that way.

After a slow start to the season that saw Crawley win just two of their first 11 league games, Mark Yates’s men have turned their campaign around.

They have won five of their past seven league games, and have won four on the spin at home.

Cobblers boss Chris Wilder and assistant Alan Knill

Cobblers boss Chris Wilder and assistant Alan Knill

It’s a run that has seen them climb to within just four points of the promotion play-off places, and Knill knows the Cobblers could be in for a torrid evening if they don’t take their A game to west Sussex.

“Crawley are a big threat, and are in really good form,” said Knill, who was doing pre-match media duties on the absence of manager Chris Wilder, who has been suffering with a sore throat.

“We have all seen the results in this league, and if you’re not prepared to pay the opposition respect, who you expect to play at their best, then you are going to be in trouble.

“I think Crawley are a really good side, they have some really good players and had a good result on Saturday (beating Bristol Rovers 2-1), so we are going to be prepared for them at their best.

We have all seen the results in this league, and if you’re not prepared to pay the opposition respect, who you expect to play at their best, then you are going to be in trouble

Cobblers assistant boss Alan Knill

“All I will say is, if we are at our best which we believe we will be, then it will be a really good game, and a tough test for them, which is the most important part.

“We are confident and satisfied with our form, and the players are confident going into each game, and we are going to Crawley in a good frame of mind, and a positive frame of mind, especially having come off the back of a really tough game on Saturday.

“Even though Notts County’s league position isn’t what they would like it to be, they have some good players and to come away from there with a win is an excellent result for us.”

Rhys Murphy was Crawley’s goal star at the weekend, scoring both goals in the win over Rovers to take his tally for the season to seven, and Knill is a big admirer of the player, who is on loan from Oldham Athletic.

“Murphy is a big threat. When he was at Dagenham he was one of the top players in the league, and then I think he got an injury,” said Knill.

“His form petered off after that and he couldn’t get it back, and then he got the move to Oldham, which hasn’t worked out, and now he is at Crawley and you watch his goals.

“He has that in his locker, and he is talented.

“They also have Matt Harrold, and we spoke to Matt and tried to sign him here, but he decided to go to Crawley, and on his day he is a good player.

“They have an attacking threat, but so does every team in this league.

“It is how you deal with that threat, and then how you impose yourself on the game that counts.

“Our form is good, so we go there in a good state of mind.”

The Cobblers boast an almost fully fit squad for the trip to the Braodfield Stadium, with only long-term injury victim Paul Corry (knee) unavailable.

Ricky Holmes has recovered from his back injury and is in full training, but he is unlikely to be risked at Crawley, while Sam Hoskins returns to the squad after missing the trip to Notts County with a foot injury.