A daunting task faces the next stand in manager to try his hand as Cobblers chief, Tim Flowers, as we head to Devon for the first real ‘six pointer’ of the season. Plymouth’s problems on and off the pitch have continued this season and the Pilgrims sit bottom of League Two with just nine points ahead of the clash with Town who are seven points better off.
There’s a sense of urgency at Sixfields, with the desperate need for unity following the 7-2 embarrassment of a defeat last Saturday when Shrewsbury Town highlighted our shocking deficiencies at the back and though Plymouth are also low on confidence they won’t give us any breathing space in a crucial encounter at Home Park.
Both teams well and truly have something to prove.
Plymouth were dumped out of the FA Cup on Tuesday night in a dismal night for the club against Southern League side Stourbridge. Paul Bignot was sent off in the first half and the minnows went on to score the two critical goals after the break to stun the Pilgrims. In the league, Plymouth are without a win in five games and were beaten 3-1 in the Devon derby at Torquay last weekend.
The Cobblers are on a shocker of a run that culminated in both Gary Johnson’s exit after the Luton defeat in the cup and David Lee following him out of the club following the 7-2 home defeat to Shrewsbury – our worst home reverse since 1947!
Argyle have welcomed Nick Chadwick back to the club after the much travelled striker re-signed on loan this week. He, alongside fellow new loanees Ashley Hemmings who joined from Wolves and Darren Purse from Millwall, goes straight into the squad for the Cobblers’ visit.
John Johnson should return for the Cobblers after serving a one match suspension last weekend and I would be tempted to say that he might move to central defence after that horror show against Shrewsbury. We’re still without long term injury victims Byron Webster and Nana but Tadhg Purcell made his long awaited first team return in the latter stages of Saturday’s game and comes into contention again.
Last Six Meetings…
08/11/03: Cobblers 3-2 Plymouth (FA Cup First Round)
The last meeting between the sides was a pulsating cup tie with the Cobblers overcoming their higher level opposition. David Friio gave Argyle the lead but Richard Walker hit back a few minutes later to leave the sides level at the break. Chris Hragreaves turned the game in our favour against his former club but Ian Stonebridge levelled before Derek Asamoah scored a late winner to send us through. This result began a cup run that saw the Cobblers eventually face Manchester United in the Fourth Round.
26/04/03: Cobblers 2-2 Plymouth
Another exciting game between the sides at Sixfields sees the Cobblers recover from two down to earn a point. David Norris and Ian Stonebridge look to have given Plymouth victory but Darryn Stamp and Steve Morison hit back for Town.
05/10/02: Plymouth 0-0 Cobblers
Despite the score line, it’s still a decent contest at Home Park as the Cobblers come away the happier side with a point.
01/04/00: Plymouth 2-1 Cobblers
The last time Plymouth recorded a victory against the Cobblers was on April Fool’s Day in 2000 with Carlo Corazzin’s early goal at his former stomping ground cancelled out by Paul McGregor equalising for Plymouth. Jason Rowbotham nets the decisive winner with twenty minutes to play.
17/12/99: Cobblers 1-1 Plymouth
McGregor and Corazzin were in the goals again a few months earlier with Mcgregor putting Plymouth in front in the first half before Corazzin levelled mid-way through the second half.
18/04/98: Plymouth 1-3 Cobblers
A memorable afternoon for the Chris Freestone hat-trick down in Devon that gave the Cobblers victory en route to the Division Two (League One) playoffs in 1998. Mark Saunders scored the solitary goal for the Pilgrims.
The Man In The Middle…
Oliver Langford is in charge at Home Park having been busy during his fifteen games this season, showing 41 yellow cards and 3 reds so far this term. Langford last took charge of the Cobblers on our last trip to Devon, the 3-0 defeat at Torquay on the opening day of last season.
It can’t get any worse, surely, so you have to look at getting some stability in for this one. Tim Flowers doesn’t seem to want the job full time but does want to shore up the defence and use it as the base of our play. With that being said, it should be tight, and I can see nothing other than a draw for this one. 1-1