Caretaker boss Andy King is confident the Cobblers players showed they are ready to fight for his right to the job on a full-time basis, despite suffering Boxing Day defeat at Burton Albion.
King, thrust into the managerial spotlight following Aidy Boothroyd’s sacking on December 21, selected a side at the Pirelli Stadium that contained five changes.
And although they produced a decent performance, an inability to create or score goals cost the side dearly, with Brewers skipper Ian Sharps heading home the decisive goal five minutes from full-time.
But King is confident he saw enough of a reaction from the squad that he can be the man to lead the team out of their current predicament at the bottom of the Football League.
“I think the players gave me the belief and the commitment that I needed to see in them,” he said. “They ran themselves into the ground and if they had showed me nothing then I’d probably be going down the dole office on Monday.
“That was a fair reflection of the way I feel about football and some of them hadn’t played for a long time.
“I’m taking positives out of it. I’m a very honest man and I’d have said they had been useless if they had been useless.
“We have to pick up and start building and I think in football terms there was something for us to build on in this game.”
King was handed a substantial blow in the build-up to the game with the recall by Bradford City of midfielder Ricky Ravenhill, whose presence in the team had been a key element of their recent improvements.
And it was exacerbated, as King explained: “I had planned to make Ricky my captain, so that was a big blow to lose him.
“We had lads coming in who hadn’t played for five weeks and who had been on loan at lower levels but they did me proud.”