Cobblers playing with new-found ‘belief’ as Powell hails their ‘best performance of the season’

Daniel Powell set up both of Town's two goals against Plymouth
Daniel Powell set up both of Town's two goals against Plymouth

Winger Daniel Powell believes the Cobblers are playing with new-found ‘faith and belief’ since the appointment of Dean Austin, something which was reflected in their ‘best performance of the season’ against Plymouth on Saturday.

Austin, who had never previously managed in the Football League, has won two of his three games in charge since taking over from Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink on Easter Monday.

He’s positive every day and wants to see smiles on everyone’s face. He makes training enjoyable and all the lads are relishing it.

Daniel Powell on Dean Austin’s impact

The latest of those came in hugely impression fashion on Saturday when they dispatched the in-form Pilgrims with a dominant performance as a goal in each half secured three points.

“It was a much-needed win,” admitted Powell. “I think it was probably our best performance of the season because we dominated the game – I could have scored three myself!

“Sam Hoskins could have had three as well and there were other chances so I think we could have won the game far more comfortably.

“The third one would have made it a bit more cosy but I think they may have had one shot from outside the box and another from a long throw and that was about it.

“The defenders felt comfortable and we all felt comfortable on the pitch. We had a game plan to press high up the pitch because we know how like they like to play and they gave the ball away a lot in the first-half.

“In the second-half, we made them kick it long and our big centre-halves won everything and then we played from there.

“They’re a good team who are doing well but our game plan worked perfectly.”

Town’s display at Sixfields raised questions regarding what changes Austin has made to inspire such a drastic improvement, which represented a total contrast to their 4-0 home defeat against Charlton in their last home game.

“Dean and Jon Brady have worked very hard since they’ve come in and it’s just new ideas,” added Powell. “He’s come in with fresh ideas, freshened it up and it seems to be working at the moment.

“They’re very positive people, especially Dean. He’s positive every day and wants to see smiles on everyone’s face. He makes training enjoyable and all the lads are relishing it.

“We looked dead and buried a few weeks ago but we still believed in the dressing room and Dean gave us all faith and belief again and you can see that on the pitch.

“When you’re winning and playing well things are a lot easier - the lads are smiling all the time now!

“Confidence is high. Results went our way on Saturday and all the lads were buzzing so we’ll aim for a good week of training and then look to get the three points at the weekend.”

Powell was one of Northampton’s standout performers on Saturday and provided the assists for both goals, with his mishit shot steered in by John-Joe O’Toole in the first-half before, in the second, his cross was inadvertently turned home by Plymouth defender Sonny Bradley.

“I’m feeling more confident and comfortable,” revealed Powell, who has had a mixed first season at Sixfields after signing from MK Dons. “The lads are playing well which helps me.

“We’ve got a big squad and a lot of players are being left out but all the lads are working hard in training.”