Top half finish still the aim for Cobblers boss Edinburgh

Cobblers boss Justin Edinburgh
Cobblers boss Justin Edinburgh

Four defeats from his side’s first four games has not tempered the expectations of manager Justin Edinburgh who still believes the Cobblers can challenge for a top-half finish this season.

Northampton are currently second-bottom after three league games in Sky Bet League One, propped up by Oldham Athletic on alphabetical order, having conceded five goals and scored only one.

Aaron Pierre

Aaron Pierre

Their latest defeat came at the hands of Charlton Athletic on Saturday, and it was the disappointing nature of it which has prompted fears that Town face another relegation battle this season.

Far more had been expected following the investment of 5USport over the summer, which triggered an influx of exciting signings, but so far the Cobblers have failed to deliver.

“There’s always pressure but you have to be realistic in terms of where we are with the investment,” said Edinburgh.

“We accept the pressure and that there’s expectations but I certainly don’t feel get carried with what those expectations are.

We want to finish in the top half. Is that still a possibility? Absolutely. What – three games in and we can’t finish in the top half? Of course we can.

“We aren’t one of the top three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine or 10 clubs in this league. If you look at Charlton’s wage bill to ours, it’s probably double.

“We’re disappointed with the result (on Saturday), we’re disappointed with the performance and we’re disappointed with the start to the season but I know what the expectations are.

‘We want to finish in the top half. Is that still a possibility? Absolutely. What, three games in and we can’t finish in the top half? Of course we can.”

There were two incidents of note on Saturday that caught the attention, both involving substitutions.

Yaser Kasim

Yaser Kasim

The first saw Yaser Kasim ironically cheered when he was taken off for Matt Grimes before Aaron Pierre seemingly reacted angrily having been replaced by Daniel Powell.

On the former, Edinburgh said: “You’re there to be criticised as a player and you have to deal with it. Whether or not I think it’s fair is irrelevant.

“I wouldn’t like it to happen and I’d like there to be encouraged but we – and I say we – have to turn this around and that’s how we’ll get out of this run.

“We’ll only get out of it as a collective, staying together and doing our hardest to get a result.”

Pierre’s show of frustration did not bother Edinburgh either, adding: “I wouldn’t want anyone to be pleased if they had been brought off the pitch when they weren’t injured.

“I think we’re looking at things that aren’t about the performance or the result but that’s what happens when you don’t win football matches – a lot of other things are magnified and brought into it.

“I think we’re open to criticism because of results and that’s football and I accept it.

“I’ll deal with that and I’ll work as hard as I possibly can to put that right.”

The Cobblers did at least score their first goal of the season at The Valley thanks to Marc Richards’ header, and Edinburgh hopes that can give his team something to build on.

He continued: “The first goal is something we’ve been desperate for and it got us back in the game. I saw a lift in everyone connected to the club.

“Whatever we have to find, we have to find a positive to take into the next game against our rivals in a derby, but what better game to get your first victory in?”