>Season in Review 2007/08…August…

>The Cobblers kicked off the 2007/08 season with high hopes following a good end to the previous campaign that saw Stuart Gray steer the club well out of reach of relegation trouble.

As the side lined up to face newly promoted Swindon Town, there were a few new faces in the squad. Danny Jackman, signed from Gillingham started the game as did former Norwich man Ian Henderson. Colin Larkin, a new man from Chesterfield, partnered Andy Kirk up front while new signing from Millwall, Poul Hubertz, was on the bench.

On a hot afternoon at Sixfields, The Cobblers made a stunning start to the season as Andy Kirk nodded home a cross from Larkin to get us going after just nine minutes of the season. But we eventually had to settle for a point as Christian Roberts converted a penalty in front of the vast travelling support. Roberts also hit the crossbar in the second half.

Poul Hubertz had a quick face off with his former club as Millwall visited in the Carling Cup. Hubertz made his first start for the Cobblers as goals from Bradley Johnson and Andy Kirk fired us into Round Two.

A shocking performance from Mike Thorpe enraged Cobblers players at Brighton and led to tempers flaring. The home side took advantage and won the game in the second half. After Kirk had equalised Dean Hammond’s spot kick, Alex Revell secured the win for the Seagulls.

Hubertz got his first goal for the club in the final league game of the month as he equalised Justin Cochrane’s strike for Yeovil at Sixfields. But there would be late drama as The Glovers snatched all three points late on with a break away goal from Lloyd Owusu.

August ended with a 2-0 defeat in the Carling Cup Second Round against Premiership side Middlesbrough at The Riverside. Boro’ fielded a strong line-up including the likes of Fabio Rochemback, Stuart Downing, Lee Cattermole and Luke Young and saw off the Cobblers eventually with goals from Rochemback and Dong-Gook Lee.

So there was a lot to be done at the start of the season as the Cobblers took just one point from the opening three league games and were still trying to get going as the season got into full swing in September, a month that would see us twice throw away two goal leads but finally get off the mark with a win.

>No Saints 7-1 Kashima Antlers

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No Saints got off to a flying start last night as we were back in the bottom league of jdfives. Without Dave, Phil , Andy and Jamie things were looking bleak even before we kicked a ball!

But loan signing Greg came in to make up the numbers to six and we stormed into the nes season against old foes Kashima Antlers. Abib and Will formed a formidable strike partnership and were both on the score sheet early on, Abib with two and Will with three as we went into half time 5-0 up! Kashima hit back but Will added his fourth to make it 6-1 before Greg capped an impressive debut with a well taken seventh.

The win means we begin the new campaign at the top of the table whilst Will tops the goal scoring charts for League Three after a storming game up front. With limited resources we battled hard and the result was just what we deserved. A fine goalkeeping display from the Antlers stopper kept the scores at bay and it could have been worse for them if it wasn’t for some great saves!

We go into next week with high optimism now as we face The Eagles, who suffered an 8-4 defeat.

>The Midweek Review…08/05/08…

>And so the season is over and we can all pack away the claret shirts for another summer, eagerly anticipating the 2008/09 season following an excellent finish of ninth place in League One.

The second half of the season has been outstanding and despite a late surge towards the playoffs eluding us eventually we can look back with great pride in a season that was salvaged from a bleak winter.

Ninth place was achieved with a win over Tranmere at the weekend and it was a great way to sign off, particularly for Poul Hubertz who is leaving the club at the end of his contract in the summer. All the best to Hoobs, scorer of thirteen goals this term and nice to see the big man sign off with a goal.

Adebayo Akinfenwa was also on the score sheet as he did enough to make Stuart Gray decide to keep him on with a new contract offer. The annoying thing is that Bayo has asked for all contract talks to go through his agent and although he seems happy at Sixfields he could yet leave for a higher offer.

Danny Jackman surprisingly pipped Mark Bunn to the Player of the Year award, following up his previous awards at Gillingham. Since the switch to midfield, Jackman has been a pivotal part of the side and has won a lot of fans over after an up and down beginning at the club. Congratulations to Danny.

So the season is now over but the summer transfer activity looks set to keep us all interested. Bunny will surely be off this time for the right price, particularly as his current contract runs out next summer while Jason Crowe could be prized away, again if the money is good. But anything we do get in for player sales will be trustingly spent as Stuart Gray has time and again proved himself in the transfer market.

No-one knew of Daniel Jones or Mark Little before their loan spells but both were absolutely outstanding in their contributions and growth under Gray. It looks unlikely we will get either one permanently now that Wolves have stayed in the Championship but Gray’s eye for talent will go a long way to ensuring a healthy squad is put together for 2008/09.

Gray is saying “bring it on” when asked about the pressure of next season after this campaign’s success and that’s exactly what we want to hear as the summer break begins. It’s clear we need re-enforcements but the excitement for 2008/09 has begun already, despite finishing 07/08 under a week ago!

I really can’t remember being this optimistic and proud to be a Northampton Town supporter. Ninth place is well above what a lot of people were expecting but everything is now in place for one hell of a push next season. In Stuart Gray we have a manager who can take us to the next level, in David Cardoza a trusting and patient chairman that will back his manager all he can and in the players a hungry, young side that wants to go places.

Things are very much looking bright at Sixfields and to echo our managers’ words, bring on next season!

Up The Cobblers!

Danny

>Jackman named Player of the Year

>Midfielder Danny Jackman has been named the Northampton Town Player of the Year for 2007/08 after he topped the poll voted for by the Cobblers fans.

Jackman, in his first season with the club, began at left back in the early days of the campaign but after Christmas was pushed up into midfield where his season really took off as he cemented his place in the side.

He starred in the 4-0 home win over former club Gillingham in mid-February and played a massive part in helping the Cobblers towards the top half of the table. Jackman saw off favourites Mark Bunn (2nd) and Jason Crowe (3rd) to claim the accolade and received the award before the game against Tranmere at the weekend.

>Northampton Town 2-1 Tranmere Rovers

>The Cobblers finished ninth in League One after a final day victory over Tranmere Rovers at Sixfields. Goals from Adebayo Akinfenwa and Poul Hubertz secured the win and took us to our highest league finish for ten years.

Mark Bunn was replaced in goal by Chris Dunn after the first choice keeper injured himself during his training spell with Manchester City this week. Cobblers’ player of the year Danny Jackman started on the bench as Alex Dyer started the game in midfield. Colin Larkin partnered Adebayo Akinfenwa up front.

The Cobblers had the lead with the first attack of the game and it as Akinfenwa that grabbed the goal. Alex Dyer and Giles Coke were involved before Daniel Jones crossed for the big man to fire the ball home at the second attempt.

Tranmere had their first real effort on goal on ten minutes as Anthony Kay volleyed the ball over the bar while on the half hour mark Colin Larkin curled just wide of the post.

Andy Taylor forced Chris Dunn into a good save just before the end of the half but they did have an equaliser before the break. Chris Shuker headed the ball back across goal and Chris Greenacre acrobatically hit an overhead kick past Dunn to send the sides in level.

Poul Hubertz came on for his final appearance for the club ten minutes into the second half as Giles Coke made way.

Gabor Gyepes met a Jones corner with a good header but Danny Coyne saved well before Jones himself shot wide.

Hubertz would have his moment of glory as he score on his final appearance at Sixfields, his thirteenth of the season. Jones swung in a free kick and Hubertz rose to meet the ball with a good header that went in off the post and give the Cobblers the lead once more.

The rest of the game saw a Jackman header the closest either side came to adding to the scores and the Cobblers sealed another home win to bring to an end a good season for the club. A top ten finish would have been taken by any Town fan before the first game of the season and ninth is a fantastic achievement for Stuart Gray’s men.

>Tranmere Rovers (H) Preview

>The Cobblers’ season comes to an end tomorrow as Tranmere Rovers are the final opponents of 2007/08. We know that a win will guarantee a top ten finish in Stuart Gray’s first full season in charge.

Team News

Mark Bunn picked up an injury whilst training with Manchester City this week and is a doubt as he fights to complete his 100% record of season appearances. Chris Dunn waits in the wings should Bunn not make it. Stuart Gray has hinted that one or two changes may well be made following last week’s 2-2 draw at Port Vale but he is definitely without Mark Hughes and Brett Johnson. Poul Hubertz could play his final game for the club as he prepares to leave in the summer.

Tranmere are without hamstring injury victim Calvin Zola while Jennison-Myrie Williams is also out with a knee problem. But boss Ronnie Moore is hopeful that Shane Sherriff’s hamstring injury clears up in time for the game while Paul McLaren returns from a one match ban.

Recent Meetings

29/09/07: TRANMERE 2-2 COBBLERS

The Cobblers take a 2-0 half time lead through Andy Kirk and Poul Hubertz but for the second time in a month let the lead slip as Chris Shuker and Gareth Taylor level things up.

06/01/07: TRANMERE 1-1 COBBLERS

In Stuart Gray’s first game in charge, Scott McGleish gives us an 11th minute lead but John Mullin equalises with just three minutes to go.

16/09/06: COBBLERS 1-3 TRANMERE

Goals from Calvin Zola, Gareth Taylor and John Mullin give Tranmere the points at Sixfields. Scott McGleish grabs a late consolation but it’s not enough to stop Rovers forcing another home defeat on us at the start of last season.

21/04/03: TRANMERE 4-0 COBBLERS

In the game that confirmed our relegation back to the basement division, Tranmere hammer the poor Cobblers in a game that saw them score twice in injury time.

14/12/02: COBBLERS 0-4 TRANMERE

Simon Haworth grabs a brace and Ryan Taylor and Alex Hay one each in an easy away day for Rovers back in December 2002.

12/02/02: TRANMERE 2-0 COBBLERS

Second half strikes from Jason Price and Wayne Allison give Tranmere a comfortable victory.

The Man in the Middle

Mr. Ward has predominantly refereed in Leagues One and Two this season. After producing a red card in his first game of the season, he went on to show 74 yellow cards and eight reds in just 26 games. Ward will be taking charge of the Cobblers for the first time tomorrow afternoon.

For The Record…Cobblers v Rovers…

Games Played: 35
Cobblers Wins: 13
Draws: 10
Tranmere Wins: 12