The Cobblers aim to carry on their unbeaten year 2012 when high flying Southend United come to town on Saturday. The Shrimpers are just one point off the top of the table and have opened up a six point gap between themselves and fourth place following a convincing win over Port Vale last weekend. The game represents a huge test of the mettle of Aidy Boothroyd and his men with just goal difference now separating ourselves from Dagenham and Redbridge.
Both sides need the points for completely different reasons and with the Christmas rush of games over both now have clear ideas of what they’re fighting for. It should be a decent crowd in and after an entertaining draw earlier in the season there could well be goals…
The Cobblers are indeed unbeaten in 2012 having taken a solid point from Shrewsbury and that massive first win in fourteen games at Morecambe last Saturday.
Southend have solidified their place in the top three over the Christmas and New Year period and have picked up seven points from their last three games including hammerings of AFC Wimbledon and Port Vale.
Freddy Hall should keep the number one jersey after Shane Higg’s injury gave him some action last weekend. Arron Davies could come back into the frame as well after he recovered from a groin injury. Byron Webster played in a midweek game at Wolves and is close to a return as well.
Southend snapped up Bolton Wanderers striker Jack Sampson this week on a one month loan deal and he goes straight into the Shrimpers’ squad to face the Cobblers. Paul Sturrock is waiting on the fitness of Elliot Benyon who injured his ankle during last weekend’s home win over Port Vale. Ryan Leonard continues to sit out with a knee problem while Lee Sawyer misses out with a thigh injury. Goalkeeper Glenn Morris will be in the squad despite dislocating his finger last week.
03/09/11: Southend 2-2 Cobblers
Earlier this season the Cobblers earned a good point at Roots Hall thanks to an extraordinary fight back that saw Bayo Akinfenwa and Arron Davies equalise Bilel Mohsni and Ryan Hall’s goals within five second half minutes down in Essex.
26/02/11: Southend 1-1 Cobblers
In a tight match at Roots Hall, the Cobblers take the lead through John Johnson before Barry Corr equalises minutes later. This was to be the final of six draws in a row in early 2011 and would end up being Ian Sampson’s final away game in charge.
11/09/10: Cobblers 2-1 Southend
The Cobblers win for the first time in the league last season as Anthony Grant’s 57thminute strike is cancelled out by Abdul Osman. Andy Holt nets the winner with fifteen minutes to go and we were finally up and running in the League Two campaign.
13/04/09: Cobblers 2-3 Southend
A Bank Holiday encounter goes the way of the Shrimpers as Jean-Francois Christophe puts the visitors in front in the first half. The second comes to life after the break though as Bayo Akinfenwa levels and Theo Robinson puts Southend back into the lead. Lee Barnard’s goal a few minutes later to extend the lead and Aleksandar Prijovic’s striker is only a consolation for the Cobblers late on.
26/12/08: Southend 1-0 Cobblers
A Boxing day match at Roots Hall ends with Southend victorious thanks to Junior Stanislas’ winner in stoppage time. That was after Abdul Osman had been sent off for the Cobblers with fifteen minutes to go but we couldn’t quite hold out for a point.
12/04/08: Southend 1-1 Cobblers
Towards the end of the 2007/08 season, Colin Larkin heads the Cobblers in front at Roots Hall but Lee Barnard earns his side a draw.
The Man In The Middle…
Gary Sutton takes charge of this one having shown six red cards so far this season including two in the Gillingham-Burton game in September. Sutton last officiated a Cobblers game in our 2-0 win over Shrewsbury in April 2010.
Last week’s prediction was spot on so I’m going to put it out there and say we’ll have a rare and unexpected victory tomorrow. Southend are a tough nut to crack and I would be delighted with a point but I’ll stick my neck out with a 1-0 win for the Cobblers.