Torquay United boss Alan Knill knows all about the strengths of Northampton Town.
The former Rotherham United, Bury and Scunthorpe United boss is well aware of the threat the Cobblers pose through Adebayo Akinfenwa, Clive Platt, Chris Hackett & co.
And he knows that his Gulls side are in for a tough time when they run out at Sixfields for tonight’s npower League Two clash (ko 7.45pm).
But he also admits he won’t be filling his players’ heads with how powerful or dangerous the Cobblers might be, and he will instead be telling them to concentrate on doing what they are good at.
“I am looking forward to tonight,” said Knill, who is in caretaker charge of the Plainmoor side while manager Martin Ling recovers from illness.
“I know it’s going to be a tough game and we have a tough week ahead, facing Northampton who are fourth in the league, then Bradford who have had an amazing season, and then Gillingham next Saturday.
“It’s a test of how well we’re doing and we’ll know by the end of next week whether we’re competitive still or we need to do more.
And he added: “You should always make the players aware of the opposition strengths and to be fourth in the league, Northampton have got some.
“We’ve talked about them, but mainly concentrated on what we do with the ball.
“I’ve never gone away from that.
“You give the players information on the opposition and then concentrate on us because it’s been us that have been the problem, not the opposition.
“I know that when we perform, we are match for anybody and we want the opposition to worry about our strengths.”
Former Cobblers defender Kevin Nicholson will return to the Torquay line-up tonight in place of the injured Tom Cruise, who was sent off in last Saturday’s 2-1 win over York City.
That victory made it four games unbeaten for the Gulls, who have hauled themselves away from the bottom two of the Football League, and opened up a five-point gap between them and the relegation places.
But Knill has warned his players against any sort of complacency, and told www.torquayunited.com: “I’m always a bit pessimistic about football because when things are perceived to be going well, which they are, you have to be very careful.
“We are far from the finished article but what we have done is worked an awful lot harder to win games, and that’s what you have to do.
“If we can to do that, we give ourselves a chance. It sounds boring and I say it every week, but you have to be competitive and that will give you a chance of winning the game.
“If we can get two wins from the next six games, the chances are it will be enough but we’re not really working like that.
“The two homes games [against Chesterfield and York] were incredibly important and the two wins an absolute bonus.
“The players have set a standard and now it’s keeping to that until the end of the season.
“We can’t have any days off or tired days or lazy days. It has to be full-on and when it is, we can compete.”