This Saturday, Dino Maamria and his men meet with Northampton at the PTS Academy Stadium, searching for an instant recovery after a narrow defeat to title challenging Lincoln City last week...
A positive performance for much of the contest, Maamria was left feeling conflicted.
“I was frustrated last week. Frustrated because I think we can be so much better than what we showed in the first half.
“In the second half we totally dominated the game. We were brilliant and played good football.
“We created a few chances, but Lincoln are a different breed to MK Dons and Oldham because their game management is a different level. They have got a lot of experienced players that know how to win football matches.
“What we showed was our commitment. If we play the football that we played in the second half we can beat anybody.”
The level of performances across the season has pleased the main man, but there are certain errors taking away from the good work which Maamria is eager to stamp out.
“Individual mistakes have been costing us. The first thing is we make these individual mistakes and the second thing is the opposition capitalising on those individual mistakes.
“I think our performance has always been good, especially in the second half of games. We just need to start that way, switch our mindset to start on the front foot and believe in the type of football we are capable of playing."
Northampton have recovered from a dreadful start to the season to have now only lost once in their last six league matches. Despite the upturn in form, Maamria says his main focus is on his own team.
“What I know about them is that they have got a top 10 League One squad of players.
“Keith Curle is very experienced at this level. He has organised them, galvanised them, they have turned the corner and they are winning games now. It is going to be a very difficult game.
“Sometimes you worry too much about the opposition.
“I think the focus this week shifts onto us and about what we intend to do on Saturday. Yes we respect them, yes it is away from home but we do not worry about that, we worry about us this week.”
The squad is boosted this week with key players making their return to the First Team and for Maamria this could not have come at a better time.
“Kurtis (Guthrie) is back, good to have him back. It is good to have (Danny) Newton back as well. He played his part in the second half last week and was very good when he came on.
“It is going to be a busy period for us and we have got to keep those key players fit. If you compare us now to a couple of weeks ago, we have got two or three more bodies, so we are in a better position.
As we approach the mid-point in the campaign the bigger picture is coming into focus for the gaffer, and he knows there is still a lot of work ahead.
“We are in a great position. Nearly half-way through the season and we are in the hunt, we are in the top 10 and if we are still like that in January we have a great chance.
“If we want to compete at the top of the table we need to do better away from home.
“It is important to stay in the mix. I do not think anyone is going to run away with it. It is a long season and a critical period at the moment but, as long as we keep our squad fit, we have got a good chance.
“We have got to keep overachieving and that is the job.”
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