COBBLERS AIM TO FINISH OFF THE BOTTOM
Boss Martin Wilkinson would love the Cobblers to win their final game of the season at Mansfield tomorrow and get themselves off the bottom of the Nationwide League Division Two table.
The Cobblers are also travelling to Nottinghamshire with a skeleton squad. Injuries have decimated Wilkinson's pool of players with Tom Youngs (ankle), Derek Asamoah (ankle), Jerry Gill (knee), Duncan Spedding (knee), Greg Lincoln (ankle) and Daryl Burgess (hamstring) all out.
On top of that lot Paul Reid has returned to Rangers, while Wilkinson is keen to blood youth teamers on the bench in place of the likes of released players Paul McGregor and John Frain.
It means the team will virtually pick itself tomorrow, and Wilkinson said: “We are already relegated. But in my mind we want to go there and win, of course we do, because we want to get into that winning habit.
“But we've got what we've got, and I just want the players to go to Mansfield and show some character and do as well as they possibly can.
“With the injuries we have and with the players we are letting go, we just have to hope we get the best out of those particular players.”
He added: “Tomorrow's game does matter and it would be nice to finish off the bottom.
“Your pride says you don't want to finish bottom and we don't, but my concentration is more important for next season.
“The fans might forgive me for this season because of certain circumstances, but I'm sure they won't forgive me if we don't show a great improvement next season.”
Wilkinson is yet to decide whether he is going to travel to tomorrow's game or not.
The Town boss missed last Saturday's clash against Plymouth as he went scouting at Scunthorpe United, and he may well go on his travels again tomorrow and leave the team in the hands of assistant manager Richard Hill.
The one selection dilemma for Wilkinson is in goal, Lee Harper having put in a trio of shaky performnces in recent weeks.
Harper is unlikely to go on the tour to Trinidad & Tobago next week as he is carrying an injury, and Wilkinson admitted: “I haven't decided yet but I may give Glyn Thompson a run-out.
“It looks like Lee won't be touring, so it would be good to give Glyn a game.”
STRIKER Darryn Stamp is determined to end the season on a high with a win at Mansfield Town.
Although both sides are already relegated, there is still the dreaded wooden spoon to avoid.
Three points at Field Mill would at lift the Cobblers off the bottom of Nationwide League Division Two and give the team a bit of a boost ahead of the summer break.
Stamp also feels the players deserve a victory to round of what has been a difficult season.
“It would be nice to end the season on a win and the lads deserve it to be fair because the character has been brilliant,” said the former Scarborough striker.
“It's been hard because we have just lost our fair share of games recently and have just lost six on the bounce.
“So it was good to get a point against Plymouth and it hopefully we can now go on and get three points at Mansfield tomorrow.”
Stamp is set to continue in attack against the Stags after being recalled to the side for the draw against the Pilgrims.
The front man repaid manager Martin Wilkinson by scoring the opener for Town and kick-starting the comeback from 2-0 down.
It was Stamp's fourth goal of the season, but his first on his home soil, and he said: “That was my first goal at home.
“I've probably only played seven games at Sixfields, so it's not like I've gone 23 games and that's my first, but it was good to score in front of our fans.”
Target man Stamp is going to have a key role to play as the Cobblers bid
to bounce back with
promotion from division three next term, and the
24-year-old admits he is going to have to up his game.
“I will hold my hand up and say that I haven't been in the best of form, but I always say that the only way to get back into form is to play your way into form,” he said.
“So I was glad to get a chance on Saturday.
“I know the season is over but you still have to prove yourself and show what you can do.”
And Stamp is optimistic the Cobblers will come straight back up, adding: “We can't affect this season now, it's over and done with, so now we are trying to build for next season.
“Nine out of the 11 on Saturday are still here next season, so we have always got a chance and we are looking ahead to next season already.”
One of the most encouraging aspects of last weekend's game was the link-up play between Stamp and 19-year-old striker partner Steve Morison.
And Stamp certainly believes that it is a combination that could blossom if give the chance.
“I have played a couple reserve games with Stevie and to be fair he reads me well,” said Stamp
“When I'm going up for the flicks he knows what's going to happen because he is good in the air as well, so he has a rough inkling of where the ball's going to go. I enjoy playing alongside him.”
Latest | May 2003