Boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink says he doesn’t believe he has been making too many changes to the Cobblers starting line-up - and says he could and should have made more alterations to the team for Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat to Gillingham.
In recent weeks, and following the loss to the Gills, a section of supporters have made it clear on social media they feel Hasselbaink may be ‘tinkering’ with his team and formation too much, leading to the team’s inconsistency.
There was no Matt Crooks and I needed to put somebody else in there. The next best person to do that is John-Joe O’Toole, so sometimes it is not tinkering, sometimes it is about what you have gotCobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
On Tuesday, they pointed to John-Joe O’Toole being switched to central midfield from the attacking role that saw him win the Sky Bet League One player of the month award for January, with Sam Foley instead playing in the advanced role behind Chris Long.
Hasselbaink though insists that ‘circumstances’ led to that switch, and says his hands were tied somewhat with the fact Matt Crooks needed a rest as he nurses a hamstring strain.
The Town boss only made two changes to the team that won at Wimbledon, and they were both enforced, with striker Kevin van Veen also missing out with a dead leg, but in hindsight Hasselbaink says he should have shook things up more than he did.
And the Dutchman flatly rejects any notion that he has been doing too much ‘tinkering’.
“There are always circumstances,” said Hasselbaink when the tinkering suggestion was made to him.
“You see John-Joe has been playing so well up front, yes, but there was no Matt Crooks and I needed to put somebody else in there.
“The next best person to do that is John-Joe O’Toole, so sometimes it is not tinkering, sometimes it is about what you have got.
“That’s just how it is, and we haven’t really changed that much, I should have changed more.
“For the game on Tuesday I should have changed more, so I don’t agree with that comment (about tinkering).
“It is very easy from outside, but internally we all have little problems that you have to manage and all that other stuff.
“I should have freshened things up more on Tuesday, but hindsight is a beautiful thing.”
Regular changes to the Town team since the turn of the year have been an inevitability, as in the January transfer window nine players were brought into the club, with nine leaving.
Hasselbaink is still getting to really know his new squad of players and their strengths, and he is striving to find the right blend to get the best out of the players at his disposal.
There is set to be at least one change to the starting line-up for the trip to Scunthorpe United this Saturday, as Crooks is almost certain to regain his place in the centre of midfield.
It remains to be seen whether Hasselbaink will shake things up elsewhere as well, and he certainly has plenty of options.
But he insists he won’t be afraid to carry on making changes in the future, even after strong performances, such as the one at the Cherry Red Records Stadium last weekend.
“I think we had the right blend against Wimbledon, and because that was so right, you want to give them another opportunity,” said the Cobblers boss.
“But that was maybe not the right thing to do, and I might have been thinking too much with the heart, and not with the head.
“It is just one of those things, and I don’t agree that we are changing too much.
“Yes, here and there there is a player coming in, or a player going out, because in that particular match we need that typical kind of player.”