Boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has explained why he felt the need to make such sweeping changes to last week’s team that lost to Scunthorpe United in the FA Cup.
The Cobblers were defending a six-game unbeaten run going into Tuesday’s first round replay but a much-changed line-up, nine in all from the previous Saturday’s win over Oxford, were deservedly beaten 1-0 at Glanford Park.
And despite returning to somewhere near full-strength on Saturday, Northampton were unable to gain revenge over their Lincolnshire counterparts, this time going down 3-0 at Sixfields.
The team Hasselbaink selected for Tuesday prompted a mixed reaction on social media and among fans, but the Town manager had no regrets and even went on to explain the reasons behind each of those changes.
“Not at all (regrets),” he said. “If you go through the side, I will explain.
“I needed to give Ryan (McGivern) some minutes to get him closer to people in the back four and also David Buchanan, the day before Oxford, he clashed with Billy Waters knee against knee.
“So he had a sore knee. I could have played him but I didn’t want to risk it.
“I have to watch out with Lewis McGugan, and John-Joe O’Toole is just coming back from his ankle injury and he came off after 70 minutes against Oxford.
“Do I play him again and then again on Saturday? It’s going to be too much.
“Chris Long is coming back from a hamstring injury and Billy (Waters) was the only one that I could have played but I wanted him fresh for Saturday because I wanted him to play more in the space.
“Matt Grimes was also suspended and Brendan Moloney is returning from a knee injury, so I need to look after people and I had no choice.
“Saturday-Tuesday, Saturday-Tuesday was going to be too much for some of them.”