Cobblers boss Chris Wilder is bracing his team for a testing afternoon against a ‘powerful’ Barnet side at Sixfields on Saturday afternoon.
Town will be aiming to maintain their second place in Sky Bet League Two with thtree points against the north Londoners, but Wilder is expecting a tough contest.
Martin Allen’s Barnet have enjoyed a mixed season to date, but they have lost just one of their past four games, and although they are down in 18th they are only nine points off the top seven.
In John Akinde, who scored both goals in the Bees’ 2-0 win over Town back in August, and Aaron McLean they possess a potent attack, and Wilder admits his team are going to have to be at their best to get any reward from the fixture.
“Barnet have a real attacking threat,” said the Cobblers boss. “They have Akinde, they have McLean who has played at the highest level, they have Michael Gash and a couple of good players in midfield and two big centre-halves.
“They are a powerful unit and they can cause problems.”
Wilder also knows that Barnet will relish their underdog tag going into Saturday’s game, saying: “I have know Martin (Allen) a long time, and even though he is somebody I can call a pal in the game and speak to and like his company, they will look at our position and be desperate to come here and look to get a result, they will really fancy their chances.
“That’s why Martin has been in the game a long time, that’s why he has had promotions on his CV, because he is desperate to win for his team, his club and himself.
“We have to overcome that challenge, but we are up for it, we are in good nick and want to keep going.
“We know how difficult the opposition are, and how good their manager is and the game against them at the start of the season was a really tough one.
“I thought we did quite well in the first-half, then they scored at a vital time and it was difficult for us to get back into the game, and we had the sending off (of Jason Taylor) as well.
“This is another game where we can hopefully add to our points tally, but we will have to play better than we did on Monday if we are going to do that.”
Wilder is still unhappy at his team’s performance in the 1-0 win over Accrington Stanley, although he was delighted the players toughed it out to get a result when they weren’t at their best.
That is something they are going to have to do more often as the season goes on.
“We have to keep the losses to a minimum if we are going to achieve this season, and that was the disappointing thing about the Portsmouth game because we played well,” said Wilder.
“If we can’t win then we need to pick up a result, but we are going all out to get a win.
“Barnet are dangerous opponents who deservedly beat Oxford United a month ago at Oxford, and we have to be right.
“We have trained well this week and we will be looking for a reaction in terms of the performance from the Accrington game.
“Hopefully we will get another full-house in, which is saying something about how we are going about our business, and hopefully we can have another good game.”
Barnet’s lowly league position is not something Wilder is paying any attention to either, as league two is such a tight division.
“It’s the same as last season in that any game that wins two, three, four or five games, which they can do in this division, then they shoot themself up the league,” he said.
“Cambridge United have won a couple on the bounce, Wycombe have won a couple on the bounce and gone up, and if you lose games you slide and if you win you climb.
“We know that and we want to cement our position in and around the top of the league, and we know this is a vitally important game for us.”