Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Rotherham United is likely to prompt manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink into making several changes to his Cobblers team for tonight’s visit of high-flying Shrewsbury Town as he seeks a swift and positive reaction from his side.
Given the nature of their performance and the subsequent emphatic defeat suffered on Saturday, it would be no shock if Hasselbaink makes wholesale changes for this evening’s clash, with midfield the main talking point after Hildeberto Pereira was a surprise choice to partner Matt Grimes against Rotherham.
It’s up to us to get in their faces and get on top of them, put in a few tackles and create chances and that’ll get the fans cheering. We have to show a reaction from Saturday.Brendan Moloney
Despite Matt Crooks being suspended and Regan Poole away on international duty, Hasselbaink has plenty of options to pick from, including Shaun McWilliams and Sam Foley, or John-Joe O’Toole could drop deeper.
“I think you have to make personnel changes because Saturday was a very tough match and Tuesday will be as well,” confirmed Hasselbaink. “There are certain players on the bench who will want to have an opportunity so we’ll see.”
“There’ll be a lot of talking and a lot of stimulating. We just need to keep going. Shrewsbury will be a hard game because they are on fire but we have to believe and we have to keep going.
“You have to give yourself an opportunity to get in the right position to get a result on Tuesday.”
Captain Ash Taylor is well aware of the need for his side to produce some kind of positive response to Saturday when Town’s poor home record continued at the hands of the promotion-chasing Millers.
“They’re flying high and they’ve shown consistency throughout the season,” he said. “We know it’ll be a tough game but we’ll go again in training and focus on what we want to do and how we’ll go about the game.
“We have to regroup, be solid and try to get the three points.”
Full-back Brendan Moloney is also under no illusions as to just how tough tonight’s game will be against the title-challenging Shrews.
Favourites for relegation before a ball had been kicked, Paul Hurst’s team have defied all of the odds this season to keep pace with Blackburn and Wigan at the top of Sky Bet League One.
“It’ll be very tough,” admitted the Irishman. “I think some people expected them to fall away but they’re up there for a reason so it’ll be a difficult game and we have to show a reaction from Saturday and show our character and our personality and be brave.
“The fans aren’t happy. They were booing and obviously it’s not nice but that’s their opinion and you can’t stop them from doing that, we just have to be men about it and accept it and do the right things.
“It’s up to us to get in their faces and get on top of them, put in a few tackles and create chances and that’ll get them cheering and that.
“The good thing is that we have a game on Tuesday and we’re not waiting a week where we have it in our heads and thinking about putting it right, we can put it right quickly and that’s a good thing.”