The idea that Northampton Town would be within six points of the play-offs places would not have even been considered a possibility two months ago.
During the January transfer window the club sold their top-scorer in Kevin Van Veen to Scunthorpe United before letting one of their most prized assets in Matt Crooks join Rotherham United, much to the fury of their supporters.
Yet by removing both players from the club’s dressing room, Keith Curle has been able to develop a great spirit amongst his team which has paid off in recent weeks.
The Cobblers have embarked on their best run in League Two this season, winning their last four games against Stevenage, Crewe Alexandra, Exeter City and most recently Newport County.
It is no coincidence however that this form has coincided with the return of central midfielder Sam Foley.
The 32 year-old had missed the previous six games before returning against Stevenage due to a back injury picked up in January and was sorely missed by his side who picked up just five points from a possible eighteen in his absence.
Foley’s influence this season can be dated back to when Curle took over at the start of October from Dean Austin as with him in the side, the Cobblers have lost just three of their 18 games whilst during the eight games that he has missed, they have only been victorious on three occasions.
What the former Yeovil Town midfielder brings to the Northampton side which separates him from the rest of the squad is a willingness to offer a bit of bite in midfield via his tough tackling as well as a recognition for when he needs to break up the play and press the opposition.
Although it could be argued that are more creative options for Curle to choose from at the club such as Timi Elsnik and Jack Bridge, the traditional way of which he likes his sides to operate suits Foley who is championed by the club’s supporters for his contribution to the team.
With a favourable run-in in their last nine fixtures which features seven games against sides in the bottom half of the league, Northampton will be confident that they can at the very least finish in the top ten this season.
Yet any late push will have to coincide with the presence of Foley who will undoubtedly be one of the main contenders for the player of the season awards at the end of the campaign.
If the Cobblers do reach the play-offs, they could get the opportunity at redemption having been soundly defeat 3-0 by Bradford City during their last trip to Wembley Stadium in 2013.
What do you think Northampton fans? Is Foley key to the club’s late push for the play-offs? Or is there another player who is equally as influential for the side? Let us know below.
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