Cobblers caretaker manager Dean Austin is refusing to give up on his side’s survival aspirations this season, insisting that he’s got ‘plenty of fight’ left in him as he looks to rally his troops for Saturday’s trip to Bury.
Town’s chances of avoiding relegation took another major hit on Tuesday evening when they were beaten 3-0 at Blackpool, leaving them four points adrift of safety heading into the final four games of the campaign.
The boys are really down and really disappointed, but we’ve got to keep going and we’ve got to change the momentum because we’ve got four winnable gamesCobblers caretaker boss Dean Austin
It means the Cobblers will most likely have to take 12 points from 12 to stay up but, despite not winning a game for more than two months, a bullish Austin was not prepared to throw in the towel just yet.
“You have to always believe,” said Town’s caretaker boss, who took charge of his first game at Bloomfield Road.
“I’m a very, very positive person, but I’m not stupid and I know that the task is large.
“The boys are really down and really disappointed, but we’ve got to keep going and we’ve got to change the momentum because we’ve got four winnable games. “Regaining momentum is 50 per cent harder than sustaining momentum and unfortunately at the minute we’ve got to work that extra bit harder to try to regain momentum.
“If we can get some momentum with a result and a performance on Saturday, the whole picture could change again and you go into the last three games in a more positive frame of mind.”
It is now 10 games and more than two months since the Cobblers last tasted victory - a 3-1 win at AFC Wimbledon on February 10 - and on Tuesday they looked a team desperately low on confidence having again crumbled once they fell behind.
Austin had made four alterations to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s final team selection and with another long trip north to come this weekend, more are likely at rock-bottom Bury.
“I would think that there will be changes because I’ll be looking to freshen it up,” he added.
“It’s a tall order to do two long journeys in such a short space of time, but I’ll assess it on Thursday and Friday.
“Motivation will not be a problem.
“The staff will rally round and we’ll get into the players and stay positive because we have to.
“There’s no point being negative in these situations. The situation I’ve inherited is not ideal but it is what it is and I’ve got plenty of fight in me yet and I’m well up for this.”
As if Northampton’s problems weren’t bad enough, they also have a growing injury list to contend with after Matt Crooks, Kevin Luckassen and Brendan Moloney all failed to make the squad for Tuesday’s clash at Blackpool while Shay Facey was forced off with an injury.
“Shay got his studs stuck in the ground and he turned his ankle so he’s got a sprain,” said Austin. “The physio has said we’ll have to assess him in the next 48 hours but he won’t be doing too much because we’ll be recovering.
“We lost Crooksy. He tried but he was devastated to not be able to play on Tuesday because he still has this problem with his hamstring.
“He’s not quite there yet but he’s almost so I’m hoping he’ll be back Saturday.
“Brendan turned up with a swollen knee and he’s had to go for a scan but when these things are against you, they seem to pile up at once.”