Southend United boss Phil Brown is under no illusions how tough a test his side is going to face against a Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink-inspired Cobblers team on Saturday.
This time last week the Cobblers were bottom of the Sky Bet League One table, without a point from their opening four matches, and six points adrift of 15th-placed Southend.
A week later, Town are 17th in the table with six points in the bag, and are now two places above the Shrimpers - with a game in hand!
That turnaround is down to new boss Hasselbaink, who has won two out of two after he replaced Justin Edinburgh in the Sixfields hot seat, and Brown is not surprised at the impact the Dutchman has had.
“Saturday will be a tough game,” said Brown. “I wouldn’t say Northampton are an in-form side but you would say two wins out of two, he’s (Hasselbaink) doing something right.
“We know what he’s all about. He’s about hard work, he likes a bit of quality in his side and they’ve got an old player that used to be here in Alex Revell who is leading the line.
“It appears he’s shifted from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 – there’s lots of little things that he’s changed, but he’s just reinvigorated them.
“He’s given them a little bit of belief and that’s the hard part of the game.”
While the Cobblers have enjoyed a great week under Hasselbaink, it has been one of frustration for Brown, whose Southend team were edged out 2-1 at third-placed Charlton Athletic on Saturday and then slipped to a 1-0 defeat at leaders Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday.
They were the Shrimpers’ first defeats in the league since August 12, and Brown believes his team deserved more reward for their efforts.
“Our belief will be buoyed by the fact we’ve had two good performances against two very in-form teams, two teams at the very top of our division,” Brown told southendunited.co.uk
“The Charlton game, I firmly believe after watching the videos and assessing the statistics, that we should have got something from.
“Then you go into the league leaders on Tuesday night and again in hindsight, assessing the statistics, we should have got something from the game.
“We’ve got to keep on believing in what we know works, and we will turn the corner.”
Southend are expected to welcome striker Nile Ranger back into the squad to face the Cobblers on Saturday.
The former Newcastle United man was unable to play in midweek as he is currently on curfew that means he has to be home by 7pm, ruling him out of evening games.
Ranger was released from prison in August having served 10 weeks of an eight-month sentence, after he admitted online banking fraud.
He has featured in Southend’s two games prior to the Shrews trip, but the electronic tag he has to wear meant he missed the trip to the New Meadow.