Defender Barnett determined to stay positive in Town’s fight for survival

BACK IN THE FOLD: Leon Barnett made his first start since December against Peterborough on Easter Monday
BACK IN THE FOLD: Leon Barnett made his first start since December against Peterborough on Easter Monday

Defender Leon Barnett says the Cobblers must stay as positive as they can heading into the final five games of the season despite their dire league position.

Following Rochdale’s 2-0 win over Bury on Tuesday evening, Northampton are now next-to-bottom in Sky Bet League One and require a strong finish to the campaign to have any hope of staying up.

With five games remaining, Town will need a minimum of three victories, likely four, to avoid relegation to League Two, but despite not winning any of their previous nine, Barnett is determined to remain upbeat.

“I think we can all see from the table and our results that we’re not in a great place,” he conceded. “But you’ve just got to keep looking forward and try to take the positives.

“I know it’s hard but it’s not over until it’s over, and as a footballer, you can never be negative so I think it’s possible and I go into every game thinking we’re going to win it.

“If you’re going to have a bad attitude and be negative and talk about coming away with draws or defeats, that’s not what we’re about.”

Speaking before Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s sacking, Barnett admitted it does not matter how the Cobblers collect the points they need, as long as they do.

“The main thing for me is to win the game,” he added after Town’s 2-0 defeat to rivals Posh on Monday. “It doesn’t matter how we win and if we win ugly, I couldn’t care less - I came to Peterborough to win and the fans came to see us win but unfortunately we didn’t get the three points.

“We’ve got to do our best on the pitch and stick by the manager. He’s our manager at the moment and that’s all we can do.”

Barnett’s inclusion against Peterborough, his first start since early December, was a surprise. Replacing David Buchanan, he started alongside skipper Ash Taylor in the heart of defence, with Jordan Turnbull moving across to left-back.

He continued: “I’m pleased to be back because like any other player I want to be playing, but we all want to be in a winning team and everybody here wants to win.

“Nobody is happy with the performance against Peterborough or anything like that and we’re all disappointed, so we’ve just got to go again.”

Barnett lost his centre-back partner towards the latter stages of Monday’s defeat when Taylor was deemed to have been the last man having fouled Jack Marriott.

But the Cobblers are appealing the decision, with Barnett adding: “I just remember being alongside Ash and personally I thought their striker stood on the ball, which is what made the ball pop out to the left.

“I didn’t even appeal to the referee because I just thought it was a yellow card as I was next to Ash. I didn’t think it was a red because I was there and don’t know if the referee thought Ash was the last man.”

If Town are to achieve the great escape this season, victory at Blackpool next time out is a must.

“I think we can go and win there,” said a confident Barnett. “They need the points as much as us and I’m going there to win the game - I’m not going there to sit back and play for a draw. I think we’ll be throwing the kitchen sink at them.”