Keith Curle has warned his Cobblers players to be wary of a Crewe Alexandra side he believes ‘can beat anybody’ in Sky Bet League Two.
But he has also made it clear he totally believes his side are also more than capable of going to Gresty Road on Saturday and returning with three points.
The Town boss has been talking up league two’s competitive nature ahead of his team’s weekend date in Cheshire, when the Cobblers will be going for their first league double of the season.
Alex were beaten 2-0 at the PTS Academy Stadium when the teams met in November, but the Town boss knows that match will have no bearing on this weekend’s encounter.
“On their day, Crewe can beat anybody, but likewise, when it’s not their day they can get beaten by anybody in this division,” said Curle.
“I think that is testament to the division, in that you can’t relax and you are never going to get an easy game.
On their day, Crewe can beat anybody, but likewise, when it’s not their day they can get beaten by anybody in this divisionCobblers boss Keith Curle
“We do well against teams at the top, we do well against teams at the bottom, but we need to do better against teams in and around us.
“On our day, if we perform we can beat anybody as well.
“I will go back to the Colchester game (when the Cobblers lost 4-0 on February 2) , and on another day that could have finished 4-4, or we could have won it 4-2.
“There is a very thin dividing line, it is very marginal, and again we have to take that into the game against Crewe.
“We know they can be dangerous, but likewise if we perform then we can cause them lots of problems from open play, and from set-pieces.”
Crewe for their part are still clinging on to the hope they can reach the promotion play-offs.
Even though they are a lowly 14th in the table, just two above the Cobblers, they are just about in touch as they are eight points off the top seven.
Crewe are enterting ‘must-win’ territory if they are to make a late charge, but boss David Artell doesn’t want his players to feel under any sort of pressure when they take on the Cobblers on Saturday afternoon.
“I am not a big believer in pressure because it is often seen as a negative,” said the former Town defender.
“I believe in mindset and using that pressure and challenge as a positive.
“I didn’t feel pressure 10 weeks ago, I don’t feel pressure now and I won’t in 10 weeks’ time.
“You have to embrace the challenge and use it as positive. If you think about this or that too much or worry about things that you cannot control then you can lose focus on what is important.
“I don’t think the players are feeling any real pressure.
“If they are, put it on to me. I don’t want them to feel pressure because when they think negatively it can make them tense or nervous in their performance.”
The Cobblers are likely to be without right-back Shay Facey for the trip to Crewe, while George Cox is also out.