Aidy Boothroyd admits the nature of the Cobblers’ defeat to Oxford United back in November still annoys him.
Town, who play host to the Us on Saturday afternoon, lost 2-1 at the Kassam Stadium in the autumn to end a five-game unbeaten run of league matches that had elevated the team into the npower League Two top 10.
Both of the home side’s goals were controversial, with James Constable and Jon-Paul Pittman appearing to score from offside positions and there was further salt in the wound when Clarke Carlisle was sent off late in the game for a second bookable offence.
Although the loss set Northampton back at the time they have since risen to establish themselves in the play-off places and are hunting one of the division’s three automatic promotion places.
Oxford are only six points outside the top seven themselves and can close the gap on the Cobblers to just four points if they win at Sixfields at the weekend.
“The Oxford game is going to be a very good game, they’ve come into a bit of form lately and Chris (Wilder) is a good manager,” said Boothroyd.
“We have a bit of a rivalry with them and we certainly feel we owe them one because the two goals they scored in the game at their place shouldn’t have been given.
“That’s gone now, it’s finished and we need to make sure we get something against them.”
The Oxford game is the first of back-to-back home matches for Northampton, who play host to Torquay United on Easter Friday.
They then make the trip to Cheltenham on Easter Monday; by the time those matches have been played most clubs will only have four games left to play.
Boothroyd retains a quiet confidence that this year’s group of players can achieve automatic promotion but insists there is no urgency to be in the top three just yet.
“Easter is a key time and we’ve got to make sure whoever we play, whether they are top of the league or bottom of the league, that we concentrate on what we’re doing and keep our focus,” he said.
“We need to maintain that home form and see if we can grab the odd away point, if we do that it will be a successful season.
“The time for us to be first, second or third is on the last day of the season and there will be lots of twists and turns between now and then.”