Aidy Boothroyd offered congratulations to promoted Port Vale and his own Cobblers squad after watching them secure a place in the npower League Two play-offs.
Town will contest the end-of-season race for league one football after a dramatic 2-2 draw at Vale Park in front of more than 12,000 home supporters.
The Valiants went up but they were denied a win to go with the promotion as goals from Clarke Carlisle and Roy O’Donovan.
And Northampton could have taken all three points - Lee Collins’ late own goal secured the draw - but they would not have been enough to keep them in touch with the top three.
Now Boothroyd will focus on organising his squad for the play-off campaign.
“I want to say congratulations to Port Vale, it’s a great achievement by Micky (Adams) and his team and they fully deserve to go up,” he said.
“Congratulations to everyone at Northampton as well. To get where we are and to finish in the 70s in terms of points having been in a dogfight last year is great for everyone at the club and our supporters.
“I’d liked us to have gone up automatically but that would have been an incredible achievement and we go for the play-offs now.”
Boothroyd will be bolstered for the play-offs by the return from injury of a number of influential senior players.
Kelvin Langmead (knee) travelled to Port Vale but was not involved, Clive Platt (calf) did not feature at all and Adebayo Akinfenwa (back) was an unused substitute.
Ishmel Demontagnac (hamstring) and Joe Widdowson (knee) were also left at home, but Boothroyd - who handed a full debut to youth-team graduate David Moyo - is hoping to have them all back for the final game of the regular season, against Barnet at Sixfields on Saturday.
“I thought we could get the better of Port Vale by surprising them and I thought David Moyo was outstanding,” he said. “We knew his pace would cause them problems and we knew it would help us get our midfield on the ball.
“It was important to not lose the battle and on Thursday we will have everyone fit and available for selection, we’ll get people rested and we’ll have a full squad.
“I made that decision and I still thought we could get something - but for a freak own goal we would have done.”