Northampton chairman David Cardoza has warned supporters that the club will be forced to cut its playing budget for next season after attendances fell at Sixfields.
Ian Sampson's side are in the middle of their best run of the season but crowds have been down around the country and Cardoza believes the likes of Rochdale and Bury have proved that promotion is possible on a small budget.
He said: "If you are clever you can get a decent squad without spending too much money - look at Rochdale and Bury, they have both got much smaller budgets than us.
"Those two clubs will be paying significantly less on players' wages than us and they are top of the league, so it can be done.
"At the moment we're still having to put significant amounts of money in and we have to ask ourselves how long we're going to throw money into a black hole? "The club needs to be self sufficient and that's what we are aiming at."