Given that it could be argued the Cobblers currently have up to seven strikers on their books, there is a certain irony in the fact that, three games and 270 minutes into the new season, they are one of only two Football League teams yet to find the net.
It was a problem area last term when only three players reached double figures, and judging by their opening three games this time around, scoring enough goals to compete at the right end of the table may well hinder Town’s prospects of a successful campaign once again.
Marc Richards, Chris Long, Billy Waters, Dean Bowditch, Leon Lobjoit and Alex Revell have all been tried in forward positions so far, albeit only fleetingly for some, while long-term injury absentee Sam Hoskins will be back to have his go next month.
Those seven players combined for a total of 56 goals last term – a tally which is more than doubled if you count Lobjoit’s remarkable non-league haul – but, along with equally goalless Gillingham, that is yet to translate into the current campaign.
Chances, admittedly of varying degrees of difficulty, have been created but not taken, extending Cobblers’ goal drought to over 500 minutes if you go back to April.
One man seeking a swift resolution to the problem is Revell, who himself has only netted twice in the past 10 months following a frustrating, injury-hit second half of last season.
We’ve had a really tough pre-season and worked hard for these games, so to finish the first week with 1-0 defeats is disappointing – but we can’t be a hard luck story, we have to get on with it and work hard and go again.
“It’s not a hard-luck story but it’s not quite dropping at the moment,” said the former MK Dons man.
“We should have scored on Saturday and at any level you get punished if you don’t take your chances and that’s what happened to us.
“We’ve got to be honest with ourselves to improve. All we can do is keep practising as a group of centre-forwards and try to improve.
“We’ve had a really tough pre-season and worked hard for these games, so to finish the first week with 1-0 defeats is disappointing – but we can’t be a hard luck story, we have to get on with it and work hard and go again.”
Saturday’s defeat to Fleetwood was an improvement on the previous week’s showing at Shrewsbury but although it could be argued they deserved more than another 1-0 loss, the result only increases the desperation for a goal, a point and a victory.
It must be said, though, that they were up against an inspired goalkeeper whose world-class triple save from Aaron Pierre and Billy Waters would not have been out of place for any team in any league anywhere in the world.
But aside from that frenetic passage of play just before half-time, the Cobblers did not exactly pepper Alex Cairns’ goal. They toiled and grafted and shaded much of a low-quality second period but one mistake, by the unfortunate Shaun McWilliams, was all it took for Devante Cole to nip in and nick the points, much to the dismay of Sixfields.
“Against Shrewsbury we weren’t as good as we wanted to be and Tuesday (at QPR) we were encouraged and again on Saturday you look back and think they haven’t outdone us,” added Revell.
“It was a sloppy goal to give away and from there it’s an uphill struggle to try and get back in the game.
“We’re not going to give excuses because we have to score goals and that’s going to help us win games. At the minute we haven’t.
“It’s a hard way to learn but that’s the way it has to be and now we have to work hard, harder than we’ve been working, because we’ve got tough games coming up.”
As Revell alludes to, it does not get any easier for the Cobblers this weekend as they visit much-fancied Charlton Athletic, tipped by many for promotion this season, followed by a meeting with old foes Peterborough United.
Revell continued: “The fans know it’s the first week and we have to take our chances when they come along but we’re all grafting very, very hard to turn this start around.
“The only way it’s going to be happen is by sticking together and keep doing the things we’ve been doing to get those chances and once they start going in the back of the net we’ll turn the 1-0 defeats into victories.”
Like the Cobblers, Revell is hopeful there are better things ahead for himself personally following a difficult first campaign at Sixfields.
And with the amount of competition they have among the squad, and especially up front, the 34-year-old remains upbeat for the season ahead.
“Last year was really frustrating for me,” he admitted. “It was a difficult one to take but we really want to do well this year.
“Last season proved that maybe we didn’t have a big enough squad. When people were injured or out of form we didn’t have people to come in.
“Now we’ve got the players in and the competition drives you on and it’s positive.”