Boss Chris Wilder has criticised the early-season rush of fixtures that will see the Cobblers play eight matches in the opening 24 days of the campaign, branding the hectic programme ‘ridiculous’.
Tuesday’s match at Barnet was Town’s fourth in the space of the first 11 days of the season, and by the time the play Colchester United in the opening round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on September 1, the Cobblers will have taken to the pitch eight times in just three-and-a-half weeks.
Wilder is well aware that the majority of lower league managers are in exactly the same boat, but feels the start could be too taxing for most squads, especially as it comes straight off the back of a gruelling pre-season.
“It is such a fast and furious start for us,” said Wilder, who has rotated his squad in the four matches so far, giving 16 different players starts.
“I don’t know if any other managers have commented about it, but it just seems ridiculous to me that we have pre-season, pre-season games, and then go straight into eight games in 24 days, or nine games in 27 days or whatever it is.
“It is ridiculous, but we will try and get over those games with the players and we have to move on quickly after games.
“As I said on Tuesday, it is no good dwelling on a defeat that we didn’t take well, we have to move on to go and attack the next opponent.”
Another problem with such a busy start is that time is limited to right any wrongs that might be spotted in the team’s performances.
Wilder is a manager that likes to work his players hard on the training ground, but that is not easy to do when the team is playing matches every three or four days.
“When you see things wrong on the pitch that we would like to put right, because there will always be teething problems, we can’t get on the training ground,” said the Town boss, who then highlighted the problem.
“This week, Thursday is a recovery day because you can’t put too much work into the players, Friday we can’t bash them because we have a game on Saturday and we have to make sure we give them the best opportunity of going and producing.
“I am in the same boat as everybody else, I understand that, but it seems a little bit daft the way it is.
“We can’t work on aspects that we feel we need to. We have to tinker and talk through them, and hope the boys catch on to what we are trying to do.”