AFC Wimbledon need to be prepared to fight for their place in League Two and boss Terry Brown claimed his players are up for the scrap.
Brown, under pressure after just one win in six, admitted that he and his players need to buy time until at least October when key players will be back from injury, including the influential Mat Mitchel-King.
Playing fancy football would not buy that time, he conceded, instead believing his first team regulars, and the youngsters who featured in Tuesday’s 2-1 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy defeat at Southend United, would have to battle for valuable points.
Brown said: “At the moment it is just about getting enough points and staying in the mix.
“We need to scrap and fight. We aren’t going to be playing wonderful football. It is just about staying in there and not getting beaten too many times.
“In a month’s time we’ll be in a really good position with a really good side and I am just looking forward to getting a settled side around me at about the start of October.
“I just need to buy myself and my players a little bit of time.”
Brown was in an upbeat mood ahead of this weekend’s trip to Northampton, despite only drawing 2-2 with Dagenham & Redbridge last Saturday before Tuesday night’s Trophy defeat.
It is the performance of his young side at Southend that has given him particular reason to be cheerful.
He said: “We made five changes and they all did extremely well. In particular, Huw Johnson and Frankie Merrifield were excellent in the midfield – don’t be surprised to see them play a major part in Saturday’s game.
“To make your debut away at Southend, which is a difficult place to go, and to come through with flying colours was very pleasing, and it gives me some good selection headaches for the weekend.”
Northampton have picked up noticeable scalps in the Capital One Cup, beating Cardiff City, and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, beating MK Dons.
But the Cobblers’ League Two form is patchy, with just one win in four, and they currently sit 13th in the table.
Brown said: “It is the kind of game where we need to show the fighting spirit and some of our young lads who are big and strong may be the answer.”
Brown is still without the injured Curtis Osana, Curtis Haynes-Brown, Mat Mitchel-King and Rashid Yussur.