Upbeat Crooks calls for Cobblers positivity ahead of five-game ‘mini season’

Cobblers midfielder Matt Crooks
Cobblers midfielder Matt Crooks

Matt Crooks says the Cobblers players ‘can’t dwell on what has gone before’ and have to get themselves fired up and in a positive frame of mind for for what is now a five-game mini-season.

Town travel to Blackpool on Tuesday night (ko 7.45pm) for a crucial Sky Bet League One clash, with the team second bottom in the table and three points adrift of safety, having played at least one more game than all of their rivals currently outside of the bottom four.

There are five games to play and you can’t dwell on what has gone before, you can’t do anything to change it, so you just have to be positive

Cobblers midfielder Matt Crooks

It is a grim situation, and it is likely the Cobblers, under the caretaker management of Dean Austin, are going to have to win four of their final five games of the campaign to save themselves - although even that may not be enough.

Crooks and his team-mates have very little margin for error, and their task looks even more daunting when you consider they haven’t won any of their past nine games, and have only won 10 matches all season.

But the former Accrington Stanley man says Town simply have to try and put all negativity out of their minds as they try to secure the club’s status in the third tier of English football.

“This is like a mini season for us now, we have five games and we need to get as many points as we can and see where it takes us,” said Crooks, a summer signing from Scottish giants Rangers.

“If you aren’t geared up for this, then I’m not sure will do that to be honest.

“I was disappointed on Monday night (after the Peterborough United defeat) and I had a little sulk and didn’t want to talk to many people, but they you just have to look past it.

“There are five games to play and you can’t dwell on what has gone before, you can’t do anything to change it, so you just have to be positive.”

Of their final five matches, four are against teams in the bottom nine, with the other a home clash with play-off chasing Plymouth Argyle.

They are a set of fixtures that give the Cobblers a sniff of getting the wins they need, starting with the challenge of beating 15th-placed Blackpool tonight, although the Seasiders will be in high spirits following their 5-0 thrashing of Bradford City last weekend.

And Crooks says the players have to approach the run-in with belief.

“We have good games to play,” said the 24-year-old. “They are obviously all hard games in league one, but most of the games are against the teams around us.

“We need to just attack teams, and then go out and see what happens.”

Crooks also reflected on the team’s most recent defeat, the 2-0 derby loss at Peterborough United that sparked the sacking of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

And the 24-year-old admitted it was a ‘ridiculous’ game, but feels that the positive start the Cobblers made to the clash, on and off the pitch, is the template for the way forward.

“I don’t know if I have ever been involved in a game quite like it, and the first 15 minutes was ridiculous,” admitted Crooks.

“We could have been 2-0 up ourselves, but we found ourselves losing 2-0.

“It just shows that what we do in both boxes has been a problem all season, really, and it is something we have to put right in these next five games.

“But the fans before the game, and all through the game, were really loud and vocal, and especially in that first 15 minutes they were right behind us.

“I know it was only 15 minutes, but If we can use that togetherness and take it forward and give us something to build on for the next five games.”