Aidy Boothroyd believes the Cobblers’ appearance in Saturday’s Wembley play-off final proves it is a club on the up.
Northampton will play Bradford City at the national stadium this weekend for the right to be promoted to npower League One, a season after they narrowly avoided relegation out of the Football League.
Boothroyd has undertaken a drastic transformation at Sixfields, taking a team who finished 20th in league two last season to one who were in the division’s top seven for the final three months of the campaign.
They were in the automatic promotion places at one point, and although they now face the prospect of a high-pressure play-off final, the manager is confident the Town trajectory is currently an upward one.
“The key motivating factor is that we’ve been working for 18 months to get to this point,” he said. “We’ve had some fantastic wins and some really humiliating losses.
“We’ve had some horrible moments, such as the injury to Alex Nicholls, who is somebody I really feel for at this moment.
“And we’ve had some fantastic last-minute winners and some fantastic games under the lights at Sixfields.
“The most important thing, though, is that when I first came to the club there was a real concern about where we might go and what we might do. “That was mainly from the chairman and the people working at the club behind the scenes.
“Now we’ve got to a place where everyone is buzzing about what we might like to achieve.
“I think we’re on the up here. We’re a club that is in the ascendancy and that is going places.”
Such talk will mean little if the team is not successful in Saturday’s game, in which a win would raise the profile of the team substantially.
League one next season will include crowd-pulling heavyweights such as Wolverhampton Wanderers, Coventry City and Sheffield United, as well as local clubs Milton Keynes Dons, Notts County and Walsall.
The derby with Peterborough United - who were relegated from the championship - would also return, and Boothroyd is fully aware of the potential for a higher level of interest in the club.
“What we’ve got now is an opportunity to play at a higher level,” he said.
“We’ll be playing against a lot better and bigger teams, have a lot of local derbies and it could be twice as good as this season.
“But it is all about ifs and buts. What we’ve got to do to make sure it happens is go and win that game at Wembley.”