Boss Rob Page insists the fact he has no idea what team Manchester United will field in Wednesday night’s EFL Cup clash against the Cobblers at Sixfields is not a disadvantage.
The Town manager has spent this week preparing his players for the showdown with the Premier League giants, but he admits he has no idea which players Jose Mourinho will turn to for the match.
United have suffered a run of three straight defeats, and with such a large squad of international stars at his disposal, Mourinho has plenty of options as the tries to get his team back on track.
Page would normally go into a regular Sky Bet League One fixture with a very good idea of how the opposition is going to line up, but that will not be the case against United.
That though, according to Page, is not an issue as he knows the visitors are going to be a powerful unit whatever team they put out,
“You know you are going to be up against quality, and even their third-strong team will be decent,” said the Cobblers boss.
“We have to prepare ourselves as best as we can for what is going to be a tough game.
“Whether Wayne Rooney plays, whether he picks Marouane Fellaini, Zlatan Ibrahimovic or not, we know we are going to be in for a difficult test.”
Page was at Watford to watch United lose 3-1 in the Premier League on Sunday, and says he will be sending his players out with a gameplan not dissimilar than the one for the recent Sixfields league wins over Milton Keynes Dons and Walsall.
And he feels set-pieces could be the best chance of the Cobblers hurting their illustrious visitors.
Asked where the Town can hurt United, Page said: “I don’t think it’s a case of where we can hurt them, it’s going in with a gameplan we have had against Walsall at home, in a game that we won 2-0.
“We were 3-0 up against MK Dons, a team that like to keep the ball, and Manchester United are going to have a hell of a lot of the ball on Wednesday.
“We have to respect that, and we have to be disciplined in our shape, but again we have experience in our team, players like Matt Taylor and Alex Revell, and I think set-pieces could be an area we could use to our benefit.
“Matty has quality from free-kicks, and then with Revs attacking the ball, that could be an area we can use to our advantage.
“Alex has shown he has quality against a West Brom team that was strong and well organised.
“He is the best header of a ball outside the championshio for me, and he has scored some great goals for us this season so far.”
The Cobblers are massive underdogs for the encounter with the Red Devils, and Page says it is imperative everybody at the club enjoys the occasion at Sixfields tonight.
It is only the fourth time in the club’s history they have played host to the Old Trafford side, and it is going to be a special night for a club that was close to going out of business just 10 months ago.
But Page insists tonight is not just all about Mancheser United coming to town and the occasion, he and his team are desperate to win the game.
“It is a big game for the lads, and for the football club,” said Page.
“A few months ago the club was borderline liquidation, and now we are talking about playing Manchester United at this stage of a cup competition.
“It is fantastic for the club and the town, and it is what we want to be involved in so it is a massive game.
“It’s now what where we feel we have just got to turn up because we feel we have earned the right to be at this stage, having beaten a good Barnsley team and a good West Bromwich Albion team.
“To have done that, we must have something about us.
“It is fantastic for the club, but we want to try and progress again and to cause an upset, and as long as we are in the game, anything can happen.”