The Football League Paper - - FA CUP FIRST ROUND - By Paddy von Behr

AS Northamp­ton Town’s offfield woes pile up, they con­tinue to thrive on the pitch and Al­fie Pot­ter doesn’t ex­pect that to change any­time soon.

By his own ad­mis­sion, the de­ci­sion to join the Cobblers this sum­mer was a straight­for­ward one.

The op­por­tu­nity to link up once more with Chris Wilder – his old boss at Ox­ford – was too good to turn down while the club, ac­cord­ing to as­sis­tant man­ager Alan Knill, was sold to sum­mer tar­gets as ‘sta­ble’.

That is not a word that could be used to de­scribe Northamp­ton now, fol­low­ing a wind­ing-up pe­ti­tion from HMRC and a £10.25m debt to the lo­cal coun­cil – and the PFA be­ing forced to step in and pay play­ers’ wages this week.

Mean­while, Wilder’s charges have lost just one of their last ten league games, with only goal dif­fer­ence keep­ing them out of League Two’s top three.

“I think there has been a no­tice­able to­geth­er­ness be­tween the play­ers, the staff and the fans,” said Pot­ter.

“It would be worse if we weren’t get­ting the re­sults but the fact that we are per­form­ing is keep­ing ev­ery­one pos­i­tive.

“The play­ers de­serve a lot of credit and so does the man­ager and his staff.

“We have tried to ig­nore it as much as pos­si­ble.The man­ager and his staff have kept us in the know but, as you can see, it is not re­ally af­fect­ing our per­for­mance and hope­fully that con­tin­ues.

“I have never been in this po­si­tion be­fore but there are cer­tain play­ers who have.

“The boys are all in it to­gether and things are go­ing well at the mo­ment so I can’t see it hav­ing much of an ef­fect right now.

“Noth­ing has re­ally changed for the play­ers and there is still a good at­mos­phere around the place. Ev­ery­one wants what’s best for the club.”

Wilder and Pot­ter have a pro­duc­tive his­tory to­gether, in­deed the former signed the lat­ter at the Kas­sam Sta­dium back in 2010.

The tricky mid­fielder en­joyed a five-year spell at Ox­ford and af­ter the man­ager left in 2014, it didn’t take him long to move on either – tem­po­rar­ily to AFC Wim­ble­don in Jan­uary and even­tu­ally to Six­fields in the sum­mer.

“I had spo­ken to the gaffer when I first left Ox­ford in Jan­uary and I knew there was a bit of in­ter­est there,” said Pot­ter. “I spoke to him again in the sum­mer and then my mind was made up.

“He has put a good team to­gether. He had a good core group of play­ers left over from last sea­son and he made some good sign­ings dur­ing the sum­mer.

“He knows this level and he knows what is re­quired. We are def­i­nitely not a long-ball team but when we need to grind out re­sults, we can.”

A leg in­jury that turned out to be a haematoma set back Pot­ter’s early progress at Northamp­ton but af­ter net­ting his first goal for the club last month – a win­ner against Steve­nage just two min­utes af­ter com­ing off the bench – things are mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion.

And while spec­u­la­tion sur­round­ing the Cobblers’ fu­ture con­tin­ues apace, Pot­ter is fo­cus­ing not on his de­layed pay packet, but on a con­tin­ued pro­mo­tion push.

“Things can change so quickly,” he added. “Es­pe­cially in League Two. You lose a cou­ple of games and you are down in mid-ta­ble.

“It hap­pened to us at Ox­ford – we were fly­ing un­til Christ­mas, then the gaffer left and we ended up drop­ping out of the play-offs, which we didn’t think was math­e­mat­i­cally pos­si­ble.

“The man­ager is more than happy with the play­ers he has got here so hope­fully we can keep go­ing and stay in and around the top.

“If we can get past the Christ­mas pe­riod and we are still in it, that’s when you start think­ing about it.”

IN GOOD ALF: Al­fie Pot­ter in ac­tion against New­cas­tle

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