Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink hopes Sam Hoskins can use his winning goal in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Blackpool as a springboard to fully kick-start his season after the young forward’s troubles with injury.
Hoskins missed almost nine months of action after picking up an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury when training with the squad back in January.
But, on his third start since returning to fitness last month, the 24-year-old netted the only goal of the game as the Cobblers beat Blackpool 1-0 at Sixfields on Saturday.
“For Sam, it was a very important moment because he had a horrible injury and worked ever so hard to get to this point,” said Hasselbaink.
“He’s still not 100 per cent fit and he’s still not 100 per cent match sharp but he’s getting there and for him to score that goal, it will boost his confidence big time.”
Boosted by his goal in the the previous weekend’s victory at Gillingham, Daniel Powell backed it up by producing one of his best performances in Cobblers colours in the win over Gary Bowyer’s side.
These kind of players want love and they want an arm around their shoulders, somebody to believe in them and for the crowd to cheer them on and get recognition from the fans.
Speaking about the former MK Dons winger last week, Hasselbaink had urged him to ‘come out of his shell’ and have more ‘self-belief’ if he wants to make the most of his talent.
And discussing Powell again in the aftermath of his display on Saturday, the Town manager reiterated those words.
He said: “I think he’s somebody who’s an introvert. He’s very quiet and it looks like at times that he doesn’t really believe in himself and we need to try and get that out of him.
“With the attributes he has and how he’s built, he’s a machine so we need to try get him out of his shell.
“To do that I think we have to keep praising him, keep working with him and show him videos of the good things he does and encourage him.
“Sometimes, these kind of players want love and they want an arm around their shoulders, somebody to believe in them and for the crowd to cheer them on and get recognition from the fans.
“Sometimes it’s just as simple as that, so we are just happy to have him and we think he can become so much more important for us.”
There was also praise for the two centre-backs for their part in the win and clean sheet against Blackpool, with Hasselbaink adding: “The centre-halves were immense and they were really important.
“I look at them as a pair and they both had good games.”