Paul Tisdale is looking forward to once again locking horns with Keith Curle when Milton Keynes Dons take on the Cobblers in Sky Bet League Two on Saturday - and admits he and his players are wary of a rejuvenated Town side.
Curle has enjoyed an excellent start at the PTS Academy Stadium, overseeing an unbeaten four-match run and guiding the Cobblers to their first home win of the season against previously unbeaten Forest Green Rovers last weekend.
Tisdale is also fairly new to the top job at Milton Keynes, having only taken over there in the summer after a 12-year stint in charge of Exeter City, and he has done an excellent job, with MK losing just once in the league this season, and that to a stoppage time strike at leaders Lincoln City.
It was while he was manager of the Grecians that Tisdale did battle with Curle on numerous occasions, and the MK manager admits the Cobblers boss is somebody he has a lot of time for.
He is backing Curle to turn things round for Town, and knows his team will need to be at their best this weekend.
“We had an epic struggle two years ago when Exeter played Carlisle in the play-offs when we played them three times in a fortnight,” said Tisdale, who on that occasion got the bettere of Curle, going on to the Wembley final where his team lost to Blackpool.
“There were lots of goals scored as well.
“Keith has done a really good job already in the first two weeks (at Northampton) and I’m sure there will be a lot more to come.
“He did a very good job at Carlisle to make his team effective and he did things then that I learned from.
“You try and take something from every manager and team you play, and with Keith there are elements I admire.
“Hopefully he keeps those things to himself on Saturday!
“They have had three very good results against three good teams, so you can see he’s already made an impact and they’re competitive.
“We’ll really need to be on our toes on Saturday.”
After so long plying his trade in Devon, Tisdale admits he is still getting his head around his new surroundings and exactly who his new club’s main rivals are.
So does he see MK versus Cobblers as a derby?
“These things always add something to the game, and I’m learning about them all the time – I’ve had to ask questions to see how the land lies,” said Tisdale.
“It’s still early days for me, I’m still finding my feet in the region and with the club.
“I’ve asked how much of a derby it is, it’s a local game and no-matter how you look at it, there will be more travelling support than normal.
“But whichever way you look at it, Northampton will want to win and pick up three points for their new manager.”