Skipper Charlie Goode says the Cobblers players are keen to up their performance levels and get on the front foot when they travel to Brackley Town for their latest pre-season friendly on Tuesday night (ko 7.45pm).
The past week has been a tough one for the Town squad, as they have come up against high quality opposition in Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United.
Goode watched from the stands as the Owls cruised to a 4-0 win last Tuesday, but was then in the heat of the action on Saturday as Chris Wilder’s Blades sealed a 2-0 success.
The former Scunthorpe United man felt the Cobblers did well, but admitted he was impressed with the performance of the Premier League new boys.
Both matches were perhaps a case of damage limitation for the Town, but the shoe will be on the other foot at St James Park on Tuesday night.
It will be the Cobblers’ players turn to be the higher-ranked team, and Goode wants Town to show what they can do against Kevin Wilkin’s National League North outfit.
“Hopefully, when the Brackley guys are talking after the game on Tuesday they will be saying the same things we were on Saturday (after the Sheffield United game),” said Goode, who made his first appearance of pre-season against the Blades.
“We are in the last stages of pre-season now and we really want to put on a good performance.
“The things we have been working on, we have to start showing it now.”
It has been difficult for the Cobblers to get any sort of attacking flow going in the past two games, and the trip to Brackley tonight and then Friday night’s final pre-season outing against Milton Keynes Dons should at least allow them the chance to get on the ball and be pro-active.
The Cobblers also played Bournemouth Under-23s and league one side Coventry City on the training camp in Spain, and Goode admits it has been a tough schedule, but he also feels they, and Saturday’s clash with Sheffield United in particular, are tests that will benefit the team in the long run.
“The start of pre-season is normally against non-League sides, and you might come away with a 4-0 or a 5-0 win,” said the 23-year-old.
“Saturday was a different kind of game, but we will get the benefit of it fitness wise.
“They are a step above us, or three leagues above us now, and it was a tough one.
“But you don’t tend to look at results in these games, to lose 2-0 to Sheffield United is not a bad day.
“They moved the ball quicker, they are very fit players, and when you get the ball you have to make the most of it, but it is hard.
“I think we started the game really well, and we have only conceded two penalties, so we can look back and think we haven’t been cut open too many times.
“It was a good test for us.”
And he added: “In league two a lot of teams play route one, that is clear to see, but it is effective at the lower levels.
“Teams like Sheffield United play out from the back, they play right through you, and they have goalscorers throughout their team, so it is tough but I thought we didn’t put on a bad show on Saturday.”