Rob Page has promised the Cobblers supporters that ‘every player and member of staff’ understands the importance of Tuesday night’s derby showdown against Peterborough United.
It is the first time these two old rivals have met each other since March, 2009, and an army of 2,500 Cobblers supporters will be heading to London Road to cheer their team on in what is considered to be the club’s true derby date.
It is a fantastic game for us, and every single player in that dressing room before they go on that pitch will understand the importance of this game for the supporters. I can assure them that that we will be ready, whatever team we put out there we will be readyCobblers boss Rob Page
The likes of Milton Keynes Dons and Coventry City may be closer to the Cobblers geographically, but the clash against Posh is ‘the’ traditional derby and the match Northampton fans look forward to more than any other.
Page may have only been at the club since the summer, but he is all too aware of what Tuesday night’s match means to the Town supporters, and he has been getting that message across to the players.
Only Marc Richards of the current Cobblers squad has played for the club in a derby, a Football League Trophy clash in December, 2003.
Gaby Zakuani has played twice before in the fixture, but in a blue shirt, and was actually sent off the most recent time the two sides met, but Posh still went on to win that game 1-0.
“It is a fantastic game for us, and every single player in that dressing room before they go on that pitch will understand the importance of this game for the supporters,” said Page.
“I can assure them that that we will be ready, whatever team we put out there we will be ready.
“Peterborough are a good, attacking football team, so we have to be disciplined in our defending, but we have players in that changing room that can hurt teams.”
The Cobblers go into Tuesday night’s fixture having had players sent off in each of their past three Sky Bet League One matches (Zakuani versus Bristol Rovers, Matt Taylor versus Scunthorpe United, Jak McCourt versus Millwall), and although Page wants his team to be fired up, he wants any aggression chanelled in the right way.
“Every player and every member of staff will understand the importance of the game, but then there is getting that balance right and having calm heads,” he said.
“We can’t afford to have any more ill-discipline, any more sendings off, as we have to have 11 players on that pitch to win on Tuesday night because we are playing against a good team.
“But we can be aggressive in many other aspects of the game, in the way we press, in how we close down, and in how we maintain our discipline, we can be aggressive in that.
“Being aggressive doesn’t mean you have to kick people up in the air, and that message will be loud and clear, and if we do that then we stand a good chance of winning.
“It is a derby game and the boys will be ready and fired up for it, and it is a game we are really looking forward to.”