Chris Wilder believes the Cobblers have earned the right to be considered genuine promotion ‘contenders’.
With a third of the season played, Northampton are riding high in fifth place in Sky Bet League Two, level on points with third-placed Oxford United and just two points behind second-placed Portsmouth.
Leaders Plymouth have opened up a bit of a gap at the top and are seven points better off than the Cobblers, but the promotion race is wide open with the Cobblers right in the leading pack.
When you consider all the off-field distractions so far this campaign it is a remarkable achievement, and Wilder says the challenge now for him and his players is to keep their form going.
“People have looked at us and seen we have got good players,” said Town boss Wilder. “They have seen that we have had good results and are up there on merit.
“People know we are contenders, and we are up there and have the results to back it up.
“We have said to the players that we now have to keep the hammer down and focus on the next game.”
The Cobblers host sixth-placed Mansfield Town at Sixfields on Saturday in the match of the day in league two, and Wilder is anticipating a cracking game.
“Mansfield have had some outstanding results away from home, and have some pace on the counter-attack,” said Wilder, who managed Stags boss Adam Murray at Oxford United.
“They have good players, and they will bring a healthy away support as they are going great and have got a bit of momentum.
“It is going to be a tough game, but I would think people are enjoying watching us play, and will expect another entertaining afternoon.
“Hopefully we can get the right result.”