The pressure continues to grow on Gary Johnson as we head into an important home double header that begins on Tuesday night with the visit of Hereford United. The fixture brings up the nightmare memories of just over a year ago when the Cobblers held a 3-0 lead before throwing it away in a disastrous second half to eventually lose 4-3 in front of a disbelieving Sixfields.
That was one of the lowest points of the season and we have to erase those memories and record three points if Johnson is to create some breathing space for himself. Away from home it’s easy to disguise certain parts of a bad result and performance but there will be no hiding as the locals return to Sixfields.
There’s bound to be some who simply turn up to scream obscenities at the manager and who are just baying for blood. But the ones who back the team will be the ones who feel the ultimate satisfaction at the end if the team responds. So a message to those ‘moaners’ for want of a better word – forget about who’s in charge and support the TEAM. The team you’ve grown up with, the team you love (you must do otherwise you wouldn’t be using time and energy up to sit in a stadium freezing your preverbals off!) and the team who you’re actually pretty lucky to have in an uncertain age.
Rant over, here’s the preview!
The Cobblers have been beaten in their last three outings, a home defeat to Crawley and then back to back on the road at Port Vale and Bradford. Changing to a 3-5-2 formation at Valley Parade worked for a while but after Michael Jacob’s belter it was the home side that came away with all three points.
Hereford have had a productive October and have turned the corner after a poor start to the season. Jamie Pitman’s men snatched a 3-3 draw late in the day at Swindon before recording victories over Bradford and Barnet at home. The latest victory at the weekend meant that they leapfrogged Barnet to go out of the bottom two.
The Cobblers should still be without Bayo Akinfenwa and Arron Davies for this one meaning that Gary Johnson will select from the same squad of players that he used at Bradford on Saturday afternoon. That day saw Saido Berahino handed a debut and he is likely to keep his place for a first home game for the club.
Hereford should remain fairly unchanged to the side that saw off Barnet with the only absentee being Joe Heath. The defender picked up his fifth booking of the season on Saturday so serves a one match ban tonight.
Hereford recently signed defender Andy Todd on non-contract terms. Todd played seven times for the Cobblers on loan from Derby County during the 2008/09 season.
Cobblers midfielder Lewis Young made six appearances for Hereford in 2010 on loan from Watford. Byron Webster also spent time at the Bulls but made only two appearances whilst on loan from Doncaster Rovers last season.
Nathaniel Wedderburn is another to have donned Hereford colours in the past having joined them on loan in 2009 from Stoke City.
Last Six Meetings…
22/02/11: Hereford 1-1 Cobblers
A relegation six pointer at Edgar Street sees Andy Holt head the Cobblers in front before Waide Fairhurst levels the game and earns Hereford a point.
16/10/11: Cobblers 3-4 Hereford
Leon McKenzie’s first half hat-trick looks like seeing us home to three easy points but a stunning second half recovery from the visitors gives them the most unlikely of victories. Stuart Fleetwood’s brace got the ball rolling before James McQuilkin levelled the game. Mathieu Manset scored the winner before Ben Tozer was sent off with three minutes to go.
23/02/10: Hereford 0-2 Cobblers
Billy McKay and Bayo Akinfenwa are on target as the Cobblers earn a big victory at Edgar Street in February 2010.
01/12/09: Cobblers 1-3 Hereford
Ryan Gilligan’ scores in the very first minute of the game but goals from Darren Jones, Mathieu Manset and Craig King turn the game on its head as the Bulls secure a fine away win.
25/04/09: Cobblers 2-1 Hereford
As the Cobblers battle against the drop in League One, Andy Holt gives us a crucial lead but Andy Williams levels things for Hereford at the start of the second half. With twenty minutes to go, Jason Crowe gets the winner but it would be the final victory of the season as back to back defeats seal eventual relegation.
22/11/08: Hereford 0-2 Cobblers
Danny Jackman curls home a free kick to give the Cobblers the lead in a scrappy game at Edgar Street before Ryan Gilligan doubles the advantage on the hour mark.
The Man In The Middle…
The man in charge on Tuesday night is Nigel Miller who’s last match was down the road at Peterborough in their 4-3 win over Cardiff City a week ago. Last refereed a Cobblers game in our 2-2 draw at Stockport County on Easter Monday.
It’s a must win game of the highest order and it’s vital we start well. I’m going for a home debut goal for Berahino in a 2-0 victory.