Aidy Boothroyd accepts his Cobblers side have to maintain their excellent home form but is wary of the progress Plymouth have made under hard-working manager John Sheridan.
The Pilgrims visit Sixfields on Saturday (3pm kick-off) having seen their recent five-match unbeaten run ended by a home defeat to Oxford United.
It is a result that leaves Plymouth outside of the npower League Two relegation zone on goal difference only, a factor that should offer great encouragement to a Northampton side who have been in excellent form on their own ground.
But while Boothroyd knows his players must maintain a record of 11 wins from 16 home games so far this season, he is also aware of the work Sheridan and his assistant Gary Owers are putting in behind the scenes at Home Park.
“Whenever Andy (King, assistant manager), Tim (Flowers, goalkeeping coach) or myself are out (scouting) at games we always seem to see those two (Sheridan and Owers) at them as well, so you know they’re putting the work in,” he said.
“They’re doing a lot of miles if they are going to these places from Plymouth so they are clearly very hard-working lads.
“They have seen us a few times now and they will know what we’re all about; we know they’ve played 4-4-2 or a 4-5-1 with (Paul) Wootton just sitting in front of the back four. “There are a number of formations they could play to try to stop us and they have some strong, experienced players and under John they will keep getting better and better.”
Town rested several first-team regulars for the 1-1 draw at Wimbledon on Tuesday night, with Chris Hackett getting just half an hour and Luke Guttridge and Ben Harding not featuring at all.
That should ensure some fresh midfield legs but there will be an enforced change for Boothroyd, with Joe Widdowson serving the first match of a two-game suspension for a 10th booking of the campaign.
Lee Collins, who has started the past two matches at left-back with Widdowson on the wing, will continue there.
“Joe has been absolutely outstanding and he has been one of our best players, there is no doubt about that,” said Boothroyd.
“Lee (Collins) is an assassin, he’s a good defender and he’s hard as nails.
“He’s a good player to have on your team, he can play all the way across the back four and in central midfield if we need him to there as well.
“I’ve been really impressed with him as a player and as a person and we need to keep him available because he gives us a number of different tactical options.”