By Tony Leighton
Northampton Town's new manager Chris Wilder will be looking for his bottom of the table team to take a vital step on the road to Sky Bet League 2 safety with a Tuesday night win in their basement battle at survival rivals Torquay United.
The Cobblers are six points adrift of second-bottom Torquay and a further point below the safety places as Wilder prepares for his third match in charge.
He will be hoping for a first win since swapping a promotion-chasing campaign with Oxford United for a relegation scrap with the Sixfields Stadium team.
Wilder admits that his switch of clubs in the circumstances is the boldest move of his career, but he is confident of inspiring a rescue act - whether or not Tuesday evening's encounter at Plainmoor ends in a much-needed victory.
The 46-year-old manager, whose last game in charge of Oxford was a 1-0 win against Torquay, told football-league.co.uk: "Nothing will be done and dusted no matter what the result, but obviously we need to quickly get some wins.
"We've only got 18 games of the season left and it's the time we haven't got that might be the defining aspect. We've got to shorten the gap between ourselves and the teams above as soon as possible, so we can't wait too long to bed down."
Wilder is attempting to bed down a new-look Northampton side after signing half a dozen players since arriving at the club little more than fortnight ago.
The Cobblers picked up a creditable 1-1 draw at Cheltenham Town in the new manager's first game, but then lost 2-0 at home to Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.
"It was disappointing on Saturday," said Wilder. "We conceded poor goals and we'll have to cut that out, but some of our forward play was good.
"The quality of the players we've got is as good if not better than a number of teams in the bottom half of the table and the attitude of the group is really good, so if we can get it right we can be a match for anyone."
Wilder's team will have to be more than a match for most sides they come up against if they are to prevent the club from dropping out of The Football League.
The manager certainly has a different type of challenge to the one he would now be facing if he had stayed at Oxford, who as fate would have it will be the visitors to Sixfields on what could be a fateful last day of the season for both clubs.
His decision to change clubs at this stage of the season may seem a strange one and he admitted: "There's no shying away from the fact that it was a bold move. But it was made for a number of reasons and I'm 100 per cent happy with it.
"From a personal and professional point of view it felt right, and I'm confident in the ability of myself and [assistant manager] Alan Knill to turn Northampton's fortunes around - I'm looking forward to that and I'm confident we'll be okay."
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