Cobblers boss Justin Edinburgh has paid tribute to the job done by former Town manager Chris Wilder in guiding sleeping giants Sheffield United to the brink of promotion from Sky Bet League One.
The Blades had hoped to nail down a top two finish ahead of their visit to Sixfields this weekend, but although they did their job and claimed a 2-0 home win over Coventry City on Wednesday night, Fleetwood’s win at Oxford United means the south Yorkshire club are not quite there.
Wilder will bring his current club to his former club for the first time still needing one more win to be certain of ending the Blades’ six-year stay in the third tier of English football, and sealing a second successive promotion as a manager, following on from winning league two with the Cobblers last season.
Edinburgh is obviously keen for his Town team to deny United that promotion for another few days at least, but he is certain the Bramall Lane club will go up, and has praised the efforts of Wilder, who quit Sixfields last May to take up the top job at the club he has supported all his life.
“No matter what level of football you are at, 99 per cent of the time you finish where you should,” said the Cobblers boss.
“There will always be a Leicester or an overachiever throughout all divisions, but it’s not always that easy.
“Sheffield United have underachieved for a few years, and Chris has gone in there and put his own personality and print on that club.
“Knowing him, and speaking to people who play for him, Chris is a very good man manager.
“He demands, he is hard working, and he has had to work hard to get where he is.
“He has an opportunity now that he wasn’t going to let pass him by, and he has continued with the momentum he had from here last season, taken that to another club, got his recruitment right and fair play to him.
“He has done a fantastic job there.”
Sheffield United will be promoted at Sixfields on Saturday if they beat the Cobblers, regardless of third-placed Fleetwood’s result at Oldham Athletic.
They will also be promoted if they draw with Town, and Fleetwood fail to win at Boundary Park.
United will go up even if they lose to the Cobblers and Fleetwood draw at Oldham, as their goal difference is far superior.
If Sheffield United fail to beat the Cobblers, and Fleetwood beat Oldham, then nothing is decided and it all moves on to the next match.