Crooks delighted to have ‘the points on the board’ as Cobblers sets sights on Oxford

Matt Crooks
Matt Crooks

Matt Crooks says he is pleased the Cobblers ‘have the points on the board’ in the battle to avoid relegation from Sky Bet League One, and says their survival fate is in their own hands.

The Cobblers take on Oxford United at Sixfields on Saturday (ko 3pm), and Crooks knows a win will see them drag the Us into the relegation mix, with the Cobblers closing to within a point of their rivals if they can claim a victory.

There are also teams we can catch further above, and if you put a run of wins together now you can shoot right up, although we know that happens if you don’t win them

Cobblers midfielder Matt Crooks

It’s an indication of how close things are in league one, with just six points separating Oldham Athletic in the final relegation spot in 21st and Doncaster Rovers in 14th.

The Cobblers are currently 19th, just one point and two places above the drop zone, but Crooks is happy they are in a better position than those below them, and in with a great chance of making ground on those above.

“It is very, very tight now, and we have played the most games I think in the bunch,” said Crooks. “But we have got the points on the board and are above those below us.

“There are also teams we can catch further above, and if you put a run of wins together now you can shoot right up, although we know that happens if you don’t win them.

“We have got to go out and get the points.

“We have to just focus on ourselves and win the games that we play, and if we do that then we will be fine.”

The Cobblers have lost their past two fixtures at Sixfields, going down 1-0 to Rochdale and 2-1 to Gillingham, and it was noticeable in both games that Town started them on the back foot, allowing the visitors to set the tempo.

It was a similar story in the wins over Southend United and Milton Keynes Dons, but the Cobblers did prevail to win those matches, but Crooks insists it is nothing deliberate on the players’ part.

“It is true, and sometimes we have started the second half slowly as well,” said the former Accrington Stanley man. “We have to sort that out.

“Football is a 90-minute game, and we have to play for those 90 minutes and be prepared for whatever comes our way.

“So we have to start well, and finish well.”

Asked if it is something the players have discussed among themselves, Crooks added: “It is strange, and we have said that on occasion as well that ‘look, we have to start this half well’, and then we haven’t.

“It is unexplainable really, and you have to just put it behind you and go on to the next game.”