West Brom assistant boss Dave Kemp says the Baggies will be prepared for anything the Cobblers throw at them in Tuesday night’s EFL Cup second round clash at Sixfields (ko 7.45pm).
The Premier League side are set to name a strong side for the trip to Northampton, with former Cobblers loan man Saido Berahino set to lead the attack, and Kemp says they will pay Rob Page’s men plenty of respect.
The Cobblers have an excellent record of claiming victories over teams from a higher division in the League Cup, and they were at it again in the first round with a 2-1 extra-time win at Championship side Barnsley.
The Baggies have started their Premier League campaign with a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace and then a 2-1 home defeat to Everton at the weekend.
Manager Tony Pulis has stated that he won’t be making many changes due to the lack of numbers in his squad, and Kemp is expecting a testing evening at Sixfields.
“Northampton are in a period of change with a new manager,” said Kemp. “It’s a good club, they’ve been on the up and I’m sure they will be difficult opposition for us.
“We’ll have to be on our guard and put on a good performance.”
Town boss Page has said he wants his players to relax and enjoy the night, but he also made it clear they have producing a cup upset on their minds, and that is exactly what Kemp expects to hear.
“That’s cup football, that’s what it’s all about and why people are interested in it,” said the former Oxford United boss.
“Northampton will think they’ve got a chance of knocking West Brom out and we’ve got to make sure that’s not the case.
“That’s the same with all the cup ties this week, that’s cup football and why people love it.
“The players turn up with a different attitude, the fans turn up with a different attitude.
“West Brom are in town and they see it as a chance to make a name for themselves. If they’re good on their day and you drop a notch, you’re in trouble.
“Northampton have made some changes in the summer, but we’ve obviously had them watched and made some reports and we’re working off that.
“I’ve not seen them live this season so we’ll have to wait and see.”
The Cobblers go into the game protecting an unbeaten run in all competitions that stretches back to January 15, when they lost an FA Cup third round replay at Milton Keynes Dons 3-0.
Page’s side have started their season with four straight draws in the league and that extra-time win at Barnsley, and Kemp does feel the unbeaten run could be affecting their attitude when it comes to the closing stages of matches.
“They’re on four points, drawn all the games and haven’t lost any, but their manager mentioned it might be proving a negative,” he said.
“They are more frightened to lose than playing to win, perhaps playing, not negatively, but within themselves and making sure they keep that run going.
“Someone mentioned to me that Brighton were similar last season.
“They started the season 21 games unbeaten and instead of going on and winning games they were protecting it.”