Cobblers captain Ash Taylor has dismissed claims that he’s suffered a dip in form this season despite bearing the brunt of supporters’ criticism for the team’s ongoing struggles in defence.
Taylor scooped two prizes at the club’s end-of-season awards ceremony for his steady performances at centre-back last term, but it’s been a very different story this time around.
I’m not at the level I want to be and I’m critical of myself but I’m not saying I’ve been poor – I think I’ve been solid.
The 28-year-old, as well as his fellow defenders, has been criticised for Town’s repeated tendency to concede soft goals at the back in the first few weeks of their League Two campaign, the latest example coming against Cheltenham Town on Saturday.
Taylor was guilty of losing his man for the opener as Will Boyle steered the Robins in front on a day when Northampton’s defence once again looked suspect as they conceded three times in defeat.
But the former Aberdeen man does not believe his performances are any worse than last season, saying: “I don’t think my form has dipped, but it’s people’s opinion.
“We’re playing a different style of football and the whole team is getting used to it but I don’t think my form has dipped.
“I’m not at the level I want to be and I’m critical of myself but I’m not saying I’ve been poor – I think I’ve been solid.
“We’re playing more football, we’re getting more on the ball and we’re going to concede chances because of the way we’re playing and we’ll be under the cosh at times if we give away a pass.
“But we’re trying to play the right way and play attractive football - we just need to regroup and cut out the sloppy goals.”
There has been a clear change in approach and a more attacking outlook under the stewardship of Dean Austin this season, but adjusting to it appears to be taking a little longer than originally hoped for.
Taylor, though, believes Town are on the right track, adding: “I think we have to carry on the way we are. We’ve been unfortunate and people are quick to jump on us when we don’t win.
“We dominated for 35 minutes on Saturday but it flips on its head as soon as we concede. We want to change the style and we’ve got to continue because we’re doing things right - it’s just the final bit.
“We have to be more ruthless in both boxes. We defend as a team and we score as a team and we’ve just got to stick together and cut out the mistakes.”