Cobblers midfielder Crooks hails Hasselbaink impact

FLYING START - goalscorer Matt Crooks goes close to adding a second with a header against Doncaster on Saturday
FLYING START - goalscorer Matt Crooks goes close to adding a second with a header against Doncaster on Saturday

Midfielder Matt Crooks has hailed the immediate impact new boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has had on the Cobblers squad.

The Dutchman replaced the sacked Justin Edinburgh as boss last week, and only met the players for the first time on Tuesday morning.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

He had only a few days to make his mind up on players and make his selection ahead of Saturday’s clash with Doncaster Rovers, and he hit the ground running with a 1-0 win at Sixfields.

There was a back four instead of a back three, there was a first start of the season for George Smith, who played left midfield, and Crooks himself was utilised in a more advanced attacking midfield role, and he netted the only goal of the game - laid on by Smith.

So, all in all, that a pretty successful start for Hasselbaink and Crooks said: “You have to give the manager credit, as he has changed a few things.

“We have gone with a different formation, and you can make of that what you like, but we worked hard as a team.

“We worked hard individually, we were compact as a team and got the three points which is what we needed.

“So we can thank Jimmy, but I think we can also thank ourselves for putting a good shift in as a team.

“Jimmy is very, very thorough in what he does, and it is good. You can’t get away with anything, so you all know what you need to do.”

Saturday’s win was a massive boost for everybody concerned with the Cobblers, who had lost their first four Sky Bet League One matches of the season, a run that saw Edinburgh lose his job.

Signed from Rangers in the summer, Crooks admits he can’t put a finger on why the Cobblers started the season so slowly, but he is now confident things will improve.

“It was difficult, we knew as much as anybody that we are a good group of players, but we just weren’t putting it together as a team,” said Crooks.

“Hopefully now, as the season progresses, we can put everything right and get a lot of victories.”

And after enjoying that first win of the campaign, Crooks is hoping he and his team-mates can back that up when Portsmouth come to Sixfields on Tuesday night (ko 7.45pm).

“We don’t want to be down there, we want to be in the top half of the table at least,” said the former Accrington Stanley man.

“It is good that we have that hoodoo off our backs and we can push on.”

“It is better when you have games all the time, it’s game after game, and that’s what we love doing, it’s what we all want to do, and hopefully we can get another three points on the board on Tuesday.”