Hasselbaink says Cobblers players have to overcome ‘fragile confidence’

Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
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Northampton’s six-game winless run and ongoing struggles in front of goal is affecting the players’ dwindling confidence levels, manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has admitted, but he does not want his side to dwell on their current plight.

The Cobblers head into the key Christmas period in desperate need of points and wins if they do not want to get cut adrift at the bottom of Sky Bet League One ahead of the January transfer window.

Hasselbaink is expected to reshape his squad once the window opens in the New Year but, before then, his side face tricky home games against Walsall and Blackburn while also visiting Doncaster and Portsmouth after Christmas.

“Of course confidence is fragile but we have to find a way and we can’t think about it,” said Hasselbaink.

“We have to move forward and move forward very quickly because we’ve still got four or five games to play in this month and we need to try and get points.

“We need to make sure that we are turning this around and we have to stick together and keep working and get the small details right.”

Injuries to important players have not helped Town’s cause, with John-Joe O’Toole’s absence hitting the squad particularly hard.

The midfielder has battled groin and ankle injuries this season but returned to the matchday squad for Saturday’s trip to Boundary Park where he managed 45 minutes after replacing Regan Poole at half-time.

“We couldn’t start with him,” explained Hasselbaink. “If I could start with him, I would have done.

“But he’s just coming back from a serious injury. He had bruising on his bone so we were already taking a risk.

“He’s only trained for one day with the first-team and for me to put him on the bench was a risk and I didn’t want to play him for 45 minutes but I had to because the first-half was not good enough.

“Injuries don’t help but you expect to be competitive and in the first-half on Saturday we weren’t competitive.

“I will have to make changes after this performance and I will have to have a look and make changes.”