Harding insists Northampton Town still targeting runners-up spot

STILL AIMING HIGH - Cobblers midfielder Ben Harding (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
STILL AIMING HIGH - Cobblers midfielder Ben Harding (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Midfielder Ben Harding says the Cobblers haven’t given up on claiming the runners-up spot in npower League Two this season.

Town slipped five points behind second-placed Port Vale at the weekend thanks to their 1-0 defeat at Bradford City, and Vale’s 7-1 humiliation of Burton Albion on Friday.

With the Cobblers having just four games to play, a five-point cushion is a comfortable one for Vale, who could even extend that advantage to eight points this evening as they entertain bottom-of-the-table Aldershot.

Town still have an awful lot of work to do to claim even third place and automatic promotion, but Harding hasn’t written off the Cobblers’ chances of a late rally to finish in second place, despite the damaging 1-0 defeats suffered last week at Cheltenham Town and Bradford.

And the reason for the Town man’s hope is that the Cobblers still have to travel to Vale Park to take on their promotion rivals, and the unpredictable nature of results in league two this season.

Speaking after Saturday’s 1-0 reverse at Valley Parade, Harding said: “I don’t think the chance of finishing in second place has gone, I think it is still up for grabs.

“That is purely down to the way the results have been going, and teams losing.

“Port Vale had a slippery patch and if they slip again, and we have still got to play them, then you never know we could be playing for that second place on that day.”

The Cobblers are currently in third place in league two, but they could find themselves back down in fourth tonight as Burton are in action at home to Wycombe Wanderers.

A win for Albion will see them replace Town in the top three, although they will have played a game more.

Sixth-placed Rotherham United will also be aiming to use their game in hand to close to within a point of the Cobblers as they host seventh-placed Exeter City, who are currently five points adrift of Town, while eighth-placed Bradford also play this evening.

The Bantams entertain Bristol Rovers at Valley Parade, and will move to within four points of Aidy Boothroyd’s men having played the same amount of games with a win over the in-form Gas.

Bradford are also a team in form, but Harding felt the Cobblers were unlucky to lose to them at the weekend.

“We wanted to take the three points from Bradford, and I felt we were unlucky to lose,” said Harding.

“We have made a mistake and ended up losing the game, but in the second half we could have nicked an equaliser.

“I had a chance and took the ball down on my chest and had a shot and the goalkeeper has made a good save, which was disappointing.”