How quickly things can change in a week. After the FA Cup exit at Luton Town on Saturday, Gary Johnson’s tenure was abruptly ended and we’re now in search of another new boss ahead of the visit from Shrewsbury. Though many have been linked, there’s not expected to be a new man named before this one so David Lee and Andy Holt take charge for what is a tough assignment against one of the favourites for promotion from League Two.
Personally it’s a big one for me. Eight hardy souls are joining me at Sixfields as part of my stag weekend, coming from all over to start the day with the match and then move on to more shenanigans afterwards. We’ll be in the Carlsberg bar before the game should you want to say hello!
The Cobblers are reeling after a run of six defeats in seven games and we haven’t recorded a victory since the win at Barnet at the start of October.
Shrewsbury made it through a tricky looking FA Cup tie at Newport County last weekend, before which they had risen to fourth place in League Two following four straight games without defeat. The Shrews have also kept clean sheets in each of their last four games.
For the Cobblers, Arron Davies came off the bench at Luton and could be in with a chance of getting his first start since returning from injury. Byron Webster and Nana are long term absentees but there’s a chance for every squad member to stake their claim after the departure of Gary Johnson on Monday so it’ll be interesting to see who comes back into contention. John Johnson is suspended while Lewis Young picked up a knock last weekend so will also sit out.
Shrewsbury signed defender James Hurst on Liam from West Bromwich Albion today and he goes straight into the squad to face the Cobblers. But the Shrews will be without Carl Regan, Jermaine Grandison and Reuben Hazell through injury and James Wallace through suspension.
The Cobblers signed Jake Robinson from Shrewsbury in the summer. Robinson fell out of favour at the New Meadow last season and was sent out on loan to Torquay United and went on to score seven times for the Gulls en route to their playoff meeting with Robinson’s parent club!
Andy Holt spent time on loan at Shrewsbury in 2003, playing nine times whilst he was under contract with Hull City.
Kelvin Langmead spent six years at Shrewsbury in a successful spell between 2004 and 2010, making over two hundred appearances. Langmead’s performances at the back in 2006-07 earned him the Player of the Season award but in 2010 he cut his long association with the club by signing for Peterborugh United.
Last Six Meetings…
05/03/11: Cobblers 2-3 Shrewsbury
Gary Johnson oversees his first game since being appointed Cobblers boss as Michael Jacobs gives his new troops an early lead. David Davies immediately hits back for the Shrews but Jacobs strikes again just after half-time. Again the lead doesn’t last long and Jim Collins equalises before a cruel Jon Taylor winner three minutes from time earns the visitors all three points.
18/09/10: Shrewsbury 3-1 Cobblers
Matt Harrold’s early goal seems to have Shrewsbury in control at the New Meadow but Kevin Thornton’s well taken striker just before half-time gives us a route back. The home side come out strong in the second half though and seal the victory through a brace from a certain Jake Robinson.
24/04/10: Cobblers 2-0 Shrewsbury
Second half goals from Billy McKay and Kevin Thornton help the Cobblers to an important home win as we climbed into the top half of the table under Ian Sampson.
26/09/09: Shrewsbury 3-0 Cobblers
Jake Robinson opens the scoring on a dire day for the Cobblers that ends in a 3-0 defeat thanks to further strikes from Joss Labadie and Kelvin Langmead.
17/12/05: Cobblers 1-0 Shrewsbury
As the Cobblers motor towards an eventual promotion, Scott McGleish scores the only goal of a tight game to beat Shrewsury close to Christmas in 2005.
20/08/05: Shrewsbury 1-1 Cobblers
The final meeting of the sides to take place at Gay Meadow saw Dave Edwards give Shrewsbury the lead but Andy Kirk’s penalty earns a point for Town.
The Man In The Middle…
David Webb is the man in charge of this one. Webb hasn’t refereed a Cobblers game since the epid 4-4 draw at Scunthorpe in 2008 that saw us come back from 4-1 down to claim the most unlikliest of draws.
With the crowds likely to come back, particularly on Family Fun Day, there should be a bit more positivity about the place on and off the pitch. I’m going to stick my neck out and say we’ll nick it 2-1.