Boss Hasselbaink demands Cobblers become more clinical

Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink knows the Cobblers have to become more clinical in front of goal if they are to get themselves out of the rut they find themselves in.

Town have now gone 495 minutes without scoring, and are without a win in five games following Saturday’s 2-0 Checkatrade Trophy second round defeat at Portsmouth.

They did have chances at Fratton Park, but they failed to take them, with Chris Long and Ash Taylor being denied by saves from Pompey goalkeeper Luke McGee.

The save from Long came moments before Portsmouth took the lead, while the second from Taylor, which was an exceptional stop, came with the score at 1-0.

Pompey finished strongly and could have scored more in the closing stages, but if Town had taken one of those earlier opportunities it could have been a different story on the south coast.

“We created a couple of chances, and you have to take them, you have to be clinical,” said Hasselbaink.

“We have to become a team that is more clinical, we have to become a side that if we have one chance we take it, and try to win 1-0.

“It has been a problem for us for a while, and it is something of concern for us that we are trying to improve significantly.

“At the moment we are fighting against all of those kind of things.”

Asked if he will be looking to bring in a striker in the January transfer window, the Cobblers boss added: “We are looking at all areas where we can improve, and that is one of them. We have to do something in that area.”

Off the pitch, the fixture was another bad advert for the much-maligned Checkatrade Trophy, with just 1,780 turning up at a Fratton Park that regularly welcomes 16,000-plus supporters through the gates for league games.

A loyal band of 128 Cobblers supporters made the trip, and Hasselbaink was thankful for their support, and also made it clear he feels it is a competition that is a worthy one, despite all the criticism and apathy from the public.

“It was great the fans were here,” said the Cobblers boss. “I know this is not the most important competiton for football people, but it is still good to see the fans here, and seeing they are here with us.

“The competition is an opportunity for players to play, and it was good because I could put Sam Hoskins on. The more matches the better, so I am not complaining.”