Jon Brady admitted the Cobblers were below their best as he reflected on Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Rochdale.
“We weren’t at the races today,” he said.
“We didn’t show enough quality in the final third to get even a draw out of the game and that was disappointing.
“When you are up at the top you have got to be even better to sustain that and we’ve got more quality in our team than we showed today. We never really tested their keeper and it wasn’t good enough offensively. They didn’t have loads of chances but you couldn’t say we did either.
“Today was an off day, we know we are better than we showed today and we need to make sure we show that against Walsall on Tuesday night.
“The players are disappointed, they’ve got themselves in a great position to achieve something this season but there were certain things we didn’t do today and we have got to be braver and better. I believe we have a lot more quality but you have to be brave on the ball and we didn’t show those moments today.
“We want to drive on, we’ve got no time to dwell on this and we have got to dust ourselves down and be ready for Walsall. We didn’t get it right as a whole group today, we are all in this together and we want to put it right quickly. I feel the fans' pain today but we are still in a good position and we have got to move forward.”