Chris Wilder says the Cobblers’ recent run of good form is all down to the players excelling at the ‘dirty bits’ of football.
The team have produced some sparkling football in recent weeks, particularly on the road in the wins at Morecambe and Wycombe Wanderers, but Wilder says it is only possible for that to happen if the players do the nitty gritty of the game properly.
The Cobblers entertain Hartlepool United at Sixfields on Saturday in good shape.
They are on a five-match unbeaten run in Sky Bet League Two, and have lost just once in the league since August 22.
They are sitting in ninth place in the table, but are only one point off the play-offs and just three off the automatic promotion places.
“We are happy we are in the position that we are and we want to keep going, and improving,” said Wilder.
“We feel we are doing that and are showing signs of consistency.
“We have, especially in the league campaign, a belief that we can win but also recognise it is league two football and you have to do the dirty bits of the game, the tough bits of the game, to allow you to play your football.
“Every time we have had a decent performance and result and we have done the hard bits, with the pressing and the getting up the pitch and winning first and second balls, and making contact with the game which allows us to then get on the ball.
“We have done that well and that allows us to be positive and create, which is the basis of our game, and if we don’t get the first thing right then the second thing doesn’t happen.
“If we do get the first thing right, then we believe we can win and hopefully we can keep taking things a step forward and continue this run we are on.”
The Cobblers were 3-2 winners at league two leaders Wycombe last weekend, having also claimed good results in September against other high-flyers Leyton Orient, Morecambe and Oxford prior to that.
Hartlepool come to town sitting in 17th place and on a terrible run of form, while the rest of October sees Town play other sides currently at the wrong end of the table in Cambridge United, Stevenage and Newport County.
And Wilder says the team has to now maintain the form they have shown in the past few weeks, and prove they are genuine promotion contenders.
“We had an outstanding result and performance last week, and we need to back it up again,” said the Cobblers boss.
“The month ahead provides different challenges to last month, but psychologically and mentally we have to be bang at it because we have seen that when we weren’t at it, like against Dagenham, you can get hurt.
“That will be the key, and will be the challenge to the players.”