Jeremy Casey’s Northampton Town v York preview: Town have to relish promotion pressure

FUN-TIME - the Cobblers players celebrate Roy O'Donovan's goal that sealed the 1-0 win over Torquay on Good Friday, Town's 10th straight home win
FUN-TIME - the Cobblers players celebrate Roy O'Donovan's goal that sealed the 1-0 win over Torquay on Good Friday, Town's 10th straight home win

After a long, gruelling campaign, the Cobblers’ season now boils down to four massive matches in the space of the next 15 days.

Win those four matches, and Aidy Boothroyd’s men will be promoted.

Win three of them, and it will take a special run-in from the chasing pack to overhaul Town.

Anything less than three wins and it is going to be ‘squeaky-bum time’, and the Cobblers will have to hope their rivals make a slip or two.

Whatever happens, it is going to be an exciting couple of weeks for the club’s players and supporters, and it is crucial to the Cobblers’ promotion hopes that they claim a maximum three points from tomorrow’s Sixfields date with York City.

Town’s home form is what has got them where they are, and tomorrow they go for an 11th straight win at Sixfields.

They go into the game on the back of successive 1-0 defeats at Cheltenham Town and Bradford City, but stand-in skipper Clarke Carlisle insists morale and confidence in the Sixfields camp is still sky high - and that they intend to stretch that Sixfields winning streak still further.

“We are positive because the performances at Cheltenham and Bradford warranted more,” said Carlisle.

“The chances we created in the games warranted more, and we are coming home.

“It is a fantastic record we have at home, it is one we are very proud of, but it’s one that means nothing just yet.

“We need to go and make that 12 wins in a row, and then we will start singing about it.”

They are positive words from Carlisle, and when he and manager Aidy Boothroyd spoke to the media on Thursday morning, both men oozed confidence, and looked to be relishing the challenge of winning promotion.

Now we just need the manager and captain to extend that confidence to the rest of the team, and that they take to the pitch against York with a positive frame of mind, because this is a great opportunity for the club.

Yes, they are under pressure, but it is a pressure the players should relish, enjoy even.

After two years of dicing with relegation from the Football League itself and the horrible tension that brings with it, the Cobblers are this year battling at the right end of the table.

They are in a great position, have enjoyed an excellent season, and it is a situation that should be enjoyed, on the pitch and in the stands.

For the past two years, a home defeat on the run-in could have led to the team being relegated into the Blue Square Premier. That was real pressure.

This season, a home defeat will be damaging, but it might lead to a place in the play-offs and ultimately a Wembley final on May 18. It doesn’t compare does it?

Of course, the best way to enjoy the day at Sixfields is for the Cobblers to beat the Minstermen tomorrow, and Town are well capable of seeing off the team second-from-bottom in league two.

The Cobblers were very poor at Bradford last weekend, and comfortably beaten, with the 1-0 scoreline a flattering one for them in my opinion.

But they are a different beast at Sixfields and will hopefully rediscover that form tomorrow.

Yes, York are fighting for their lives, but they have won just 10 games all season and Town really should claim the victory that will take them one step closer to their dream of promotion.

And with away games at Wycombe and Port Vale to follow before the team runs out at Sixfields again for the last game of the season against Barnet, there is no room for error tomorrow,

Three points are a must, and although it could be another nip and tuck afternoon at Sixfields, I am confident Town will claim them.

Then we can start discussing how to sort out that away from again!