Rob Page admits there are ‘tough challenges ahead’ for the Cobblers in Sky Bet League One next season, but the new Town boss says he and the players will be going into it with ‘confidence’.
The Welshman landed the Sixfields top job last week and is already planning for the new campaign as the boss of a Northampton team that ran away with the league two title a matter of weeks ago.
There are some tough challenges ahead in league one. I know the division really well and there is going to be some fantastic fixtures for us to look forward to in the seasonCobblers boss Rob Page
Page has spent the past 20 months managing Port Vale in league one so knows exactly what is required to compete at that level, and he feels the Cobblers squad won’t need too much improving to hold their own.
He says it is going to be a case of evolution rather than revolution as he believes the Town squad is already high on quality, and when you add that to the confidence the players must have then things are looking good.
With league including clubs of the calibre of Sheffield United, Charlton Athletic, Coventry City and Bolton Wanderers, Page knows it is not going to be easy for his new team, but he believes the Cobblers will be able to compete, just as Burton Albion did.
The Brewers were league two champions 12 months ago and followed that up with promotion to the Championship, while the other teams promoted from league two last season - Bury, Southend United and Shrewsbury Town - all stayed up.
Page is certain the Cobblers can make their mark on league one, but he admitted he also has to ‘manage expectations’ as the team makes the step up.
“There are some tough challenges ahead in league one,” said Page.
“I know the division really well and there is going to be some fantastic fixtures for us to look forward to in the season.
“There are going to be highs, there are going to be lows, and it is about managing the expectations.
“You look at what other teams have done that got promoted last season, and they have done ever so well.
“It is not always going to be the case, so we have to manage those expectations, but what the lads have shown last season, by winning the division in the manner they did, means they are full of confidence going into it.
“My job now is to make sure we don’t change too much, and that we keep that momentum going into next season.”
Page was talking after being unveiled as the new Cobblers boss last week, the 41-year-old replacing Chris Wilder who quit Sixfields to take the top job at Sheffield United.
As well as the attraction of managing a squad of players that are still on a 24-match unbeaten run in the league, Page admitted he was impressed with chairman Kelvin Thomas. and that the taking on the Cobblers job was an opportunity he ‘couldn’t turn down’.
“You need the backing and you need that drive from the top, and Kelvin certainly does that,” he said.
“I was very, very impressed in the meeting I had with him, and I definitely wanted to be part of it and work with somebody who has a vision for the football club, and sees where he wants to take it.
“I wanted to be part of that, and to be manager of that football club was an offer I couldn’t turn down.”