Aidy Boothroyd believes the Cobblers’ Good Friday opponents Torquay are in a false position in npower League Two.
The Gulls are 19th in the division and with just five points separating them from the relegation zone, still consider themselves to be in a dog fight to avoid the drop.
Boothroyd’s men have their sights set on leaving league two at the top end and can go second if they win under the Good Friday night lights at Sixfields and other results go their way.
But the manager knows the next stage of achieving that target could be a lot more difficult than the league positions suggest, with Torquay improving steadily after Alan Knill was brought in to replace Martin Ling, who is off with a stress-related illness.
“Torquay are a team who went through a bad run of losses at one point, they lost seven games in a row and that really set them back,” said Boothroyd, who will replace injured skipper Kelvin Langmead with on-loan Coventry centre-back Nathan Cameron in his matchday squad.
“They’ve since changed the manager and I’d like to wish Martin Ling all the best, I know him well from coaching courses and various other things and it will be good to see him back.
“And I know Alan Knill quite well too. I played against him several times and luckily I didn’t have to mark him at corners.
“I’ve seen a couple of their recent games and what they’ve done lately is they’ve stiffened their resolve.
“They are a lot stronger than their league position suggests and as we know with this league we will have to be at our best to beat them.”
Boothroyd confessed to mixed feelings after last week’s win over Oxford United, going home partly happy at the three points and a ninth successive home win and partly furious at the way his side conceded possession and goalscoring opportunities to the visitors.
The manager commented in the immediate aftermath of the game that the squad would be disciplined this week, but abandoned that approach in favour of a more positive one.
“I decided against that in the end,” he said. “We just need to make sure we don’t brush things under the carpet and remind ourselves what we’ve done to get this far.
“Belief got us through against Oxford, that was the key thing in that game.
“And it also proved that we are still masters of our own destiny and it’s our choice if we maintain our form or not.”