Page challenges Cobblers to maintain standards set in victory over Milton Keynes
Boss Rob Page has challenged his Cobblers players to now go on and maintain the standards they set in last weekend's thrilling victory over Milton Keynes Dons.
Town turned on the style in front of the Sky Sports TV cameras on Sunday lunchtime, racing into a 3-0 lead in the Sky Bet League One showdown at Sixfields before going on to close out a 3-2 victory, their first in the league this season .
The three points saw unbeaten Cobblers jump up to 11th place in the table, and Page wants his players to produce a similarly powerful performance in this Saturday’s home date with Walsall (ko 3pm).
The Saddlers have endured a mixed start to the season, winning one and drawing two of their five games to date.
In their most recent league game they were 3-0 up at half-time at home to Bury, only to capitulate and draw 3-3.
But Page says he isn’t too concerned about what Walsall have to offer, or any other team for that matter, he wants his Town team to keep on improving.
“I thought Walsall were excellent last season, and he (manager Jon Whitney) has brought some good players into the club as well,” said Page, whose Port Vale side were thrashed 5-0 by the Saddlers on the final day of the last campaign.
“They have proven they can score goals, but they have proven they can concede them as well, as in their last game against Bury they were 3-0 up and ended up drawing 3-3.
“So we know it is going to be an entertaining game, and we know we are going to have to show the same discipline.
“We know we are going to have to improve again in both aspects of the game, but we are full of confidence.
“Look at the start we have had in the league fixtures and also in the cup games, why shouldn’t we be full of confidence going into the game?
“It is all about us, and the message I give to the players every week is that if we maintain our standards we will have a go against anybody, I don’t care who it is.
“That is what is important, it’s not about the opposition, it’s about what we do.
“Replicating last Sunday’s performance against Walsall this Saturday will give us a good chance of winning the game.”
The Cobblers go into Saturday’s game hoping to extend their record unbeaten league run to 31 games.
There had been concern prior to the win over Milton Keynes that the team were more concerned about preserving that record than being positive and going out and winning games.
The devastating start against Karl Robinson’s men put that theory to bed, and Page admitted that he and the players had been working on sharpening up their attacking intent.
“It is an area we said we were going to address,” said the Town boss.
“We worked on it all last week, especially on the Thursday when we spent an hour on it.
“We wanted to get more support to Revs (Alex Revell), and have them playing off the back of the two midfielders in Matty Taylor and Harry Beautyman.
“We worked hard at it, and the first goal against Milton Keynes came from that.
“Jak McCourt did ever so well, he made a great tackle on the halfway line and then drives forward with the ball.
“He gets a little bit of luck, but I think he creates his own bit of fortune with that, and Harry is playing a little further up the pitch to support Revs.
“He then gets the ball and his first touch is fantastic which sets him up for the opportunity.”
“After the first goal we didn’t sit back, we took the game to Milton Keynes and I thought we played to our strengths.”