Boss Chris Wilder is wary of a Notts County backlash when the Cobblers travel to Meadow Lane on Saturday (KO 3pm).
The Magpies have had two weeks to stew with embarrassment following their FA Cup first-round humiliation in front of the nation, when they were beaten 2-0 by non-League Salford City.
Without a game last weekend as their scheduled match at Wycombe was postponed due to international commitments, the clash against Northampton will be County’s first since their embarrassing exit on BBC TV.
The Magpies were relegated from league one last season, and have suffered a slow start to the new campaign, but Wilder, a former County player, believes they will be challenging for promotion by the end of the season.
Winners against Portsmouth in their most recent league game, Wilder knows County are going to pose his in-form team a serious threat this weekend.
“I should imagine the chairman, directors and supporters would have been expecting them to be pushing at the top of the league, even though it is the early stages of the season,” said the Cobblers boss, who saw his team rise to third in Sky Bet League Two following their 1-0 win over Mansfield Town at Sixfields last weekend.
I would imagine it has been a long two weeks for Notts County’s players, and they will have been working extremely hard. They will be hurting and they will want to put that right against usCobblers boss Chris Wilder
“We are now a third of the way through, and they are not a million miles away, but I should imagine they will expect to push on now.
“They beat Portsmouth in their most recent home game, which is a great feat, and their home record is solid.
“We all know they are going into the game off the back of a really disappointing result in the FA Cup, and they can’t hide from that because it was beamed across the nation.
“I would imagine it has been a long two weeks for their players, and they will have been working extremely hard.
“They will be hurting and they will want to put that right against us, but with that comes a lot of pressure as well.
“I played at that football club, I had a year there and really enjoyed my time, and they will have been expecting to bounce back into league one because it is not a league two club.
“They have a lot of good players, some players they have paid decent money for as well, so they are a talented group, and a lot of people connected to the club are waiting for them to explode.
“We have to make sure that come Saturday we are ready, and it is going to be a big start to the game for us.
“I should imagine they will come flying out of the traps, and we respect the opposition, but we will want to quieten them down and heap more pressure on them.
“We will only do that if our attitude is right and our play is good, which I expect it to be.”
The fact County is a former club of Wilder’s makes no difference to him, but he believes a trip to Meadow Lane is one of the highlights on the league two calendar.
“I only spent a year there and we got through to the play-off final, so it is a relatively successful period for me in my career,” said the Town boss.
“But as a group and as a club we look forward to going there, because it is up there with Portsmouth and Plymouth as a big club in this division.
“They will be disappointed they got relegated last season and will be looking to bounce back.
“They play in a great stadium, have passionate fans that know their football, and they are on a good run at home.
“It is a good playing surface and a good ground to go and play your football at.
“It is a game we are really looking forward to, we are in great nick, and we will go there with a positive attitude.”