Aware that they must guard against becoming a ‘hard luck story’, Cobblers boss Justin Edinburgh believes his side must develop a stronger ‘mentality’ if they are to turn good performances into positive results on a more consistent basis.
Reflecting on Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Walsall, Edinburgh was referring the 20-minute period after half-time when the Saddlers struck twice in double quick time to flip the game on its head.
Leading 1-0 at the break through John-Joe O’Toole’s 23rd minute close-range finish, Northampton fell into the familiar trap of sitting back, inviting pressure and allowing Walsall to dictate proceedings.
Matt Preston and then Erhun Oztumer happily accepted invitation and struck two vital blows to put the hosts ahead, and although that prompted an utterly dominant final 20 minutes from Northampton, the visitors failed to convert any of their numerous clear-cut chances, with Marc Richards skying a 95th minute penalty.
And whilst Edinburgh says he saw enough on Saturday ‘to know that we’ll be moving up the league very shortly’, he admits there’s room for improvement, especially when it comes to his side’s mindset.
“One or two just didn’t bounce for us in the box for someone to dispatch,” said the Northampton manager.
“But what we don’t want is to become a hard luck story and a team that deserves something - we’ve got to be getting what we deserve.
“That’s got to come from having a better mentality and that would be my key message to the players from Saturday.
“I’ve just drummed that into them, we were winning the game and that’s when you’ve got to be brave and when you’ve got to have a strong mentality to continue what you’re doing.
“Credit to Walsall. We’re away from home and they came at us but I thought it took us to go behind to regenerate us and go again, which we did.
We were winning the game and that’s when you’ve got to be brave and when you’ve got to have a strong mentality to continue what you’re doing. But I see spirit and I see a togetherness, enough to know that we’ll be OK.
“We did that in abundance and credit to the players but I just didn’t like that period of probably about 15 minutes in the second-half where we lost the two goals.
“But we continue to work. I see spirit and I see a togetherness, enough to know that we’ll be OK.”
After their heroics against Coventry City, Crystal Palace loan duo Keshi Anderson and Hiram Boateng both struggled to replicate last week’s performances at the Bescot Stadium.
But with more game-time, Edinburgh is confident they’ll improve.
He said: “The players we’ve got in on loan, apart from Michael Smith, haven’t played games and we’ve got to get them fit during the season in a real critical stage where it really does matter.
“We’re aware of that but it is difficult at times because these boys aren’t used to playing week in, week out.
“Keshi and Boateng looked a little bit leggy so we replaced them, so it’s going to be difficult but we’ve got to get them up to speed and do it quickly which is what we’re trying to do.”