Boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has urged frustrated Sixfields supporters to cut out the boos and stick with the Cobblers when they are struggling, as they did in Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat to Gillingham.
An off-colour Town endured a torrid first-half against the Gills, falling 2-0 behind inside 18 minutes, and there were plenty of moans and groans from the stands as the players struggled to get any sort of foothold in the game.
We need all the help we can get, and it only put more pressure on the boys, the boos and all that kind of stuff. If there is somebody to blame, then I will take the blame, but keep on encouraging the boysCobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Gillingham could easily have been further clear after a dominant display, and the Cobblers were booed off by sections of the crowd at the break.
Town did produce an improved second-half performance, but it wasn’t enough to stop them sliding to their second successive home loss, and their ninth at Sixfields this season - the most of any team in league one.
Hasselbaink understands the frustration and anxiety of the home fans, and accepts that what his Cobblers team produced against the Gills in the first half was nowhere near good enough.
But he has called on the supporters to try and stick with the players, rather than give them stick, as he feels that just puts extra pressure on the team.
“It was a little bit frustrating to see how we performed in the first half on Tuesday, but on the other hand, in those moments when it is difficult, we want our supporters to help us,” said Hasselbaink.
“I felt that on Tuesday they were a little bit on our back, even though, and don’t get me wrong on this, they had reason to be disappointed, as we all were.
“But we need all the help we can get, and it only put more pressure on the boys, the boos and all that kind of stuff.
“If there is somebody to blame, then I will take the blame, but keep on encouraging the boys, especially in difficult times.”
The Cobblers went into Tuesday’s match off the back of an excellent 3-1 win at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, and Hasselbaink admits he wasn’t expecting the kind of performance his team produced against the Gills.
The previous home game saw Town lose 1-0 to Rochdale when they turned in an equally lacklustre performance, just days after claiming an impressive 1-1 draw at title-chasing Blackburn Rovers.
“I didn’t really foresee the last two games, especially after good performances away, but it is something we need to work at, to get both things right,” said the Cobblers boss.
“We need to get the away form right, and keep that right, and also get the home form back on track and stay on track.
“I am very positive that we will get it right, and it was always going to be a process.
“We have taken a lot of good steps forward, and the first half on Tuesday wasn’t good as we couldn’t get the ball down, and every long ball they had they looked dangerous and put us under pressure.
“But we rallied really well in the second half, we played the kind of football we can play and can make the supporters proud, but at this moment it is frustrating to see that first half performance.
“But it is encouraging to see the second half, and that is the encouragement we need to take into Saturday’s game.”
The Cobblers travel to Scunthorpe United this weekend, looking to maintain their unbeaten run away from home in 2018 to date, having won at Bradford City and Wimbledon, and drawn at Blackburn.