So we’re one win away from winning the battle for good. The battle against the drop has been long and arduous but it could all come to a head this weekend should we overcome Bradford City at Sixfields. It’s been a monumental effort to get ourselves in such a position where we could still have four games to play after earning safety and what a great feeling that would be.
Bradford are no mugs though and can be dangerous on their day, as proven by their 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture back in October. Both clubs have suffered through a tough relegation scrap since that day, though…
The Cobblers may have lost on Easter Monday at Swindon but had, before that, only been beaten once in nine games. Home form has also picked up with five wins, one draw and just one defeat from the last seven at Sixfields.
Bradford are still looking over their shoulders slightly going into this weekend after three defeats in the last four games saw them fall to 21st in League Two. They’re still seven points clear of the bottom two though, so should be safe but for a disastrous last few weeks of the season.
Aidy Boothroyd has revealed that he may make one or two changes for this one with a possible return for Toni Silva who was missing last Monday due to a family bereavement. If Silva doesn’t make it, Lewis Young may be one to get a chance after coming off the bench at Swindon.
Bradford have two players back that were suspended after the after match brawl with Crawley with keeper Jon McLaughlin back in the frame and Luke Oliver also available but City boss Phil Parkinson has made no guarantees for either to start. That might mean a quick Sixfields return for Matt Duke who spent a decent few games on loan here before his recall.
Matt Duke was, of course, recalled by Bradford from the Cobblers a couple of weeks ago thanks to an almighty brawl against Crawley that saw first choice keeper Jon McLaughlin sent off along with two team mates. Duke played nine times for Town during his loan spell at Sixfields.
Bradford defender Guy Branston is another former Cobblers loanee having played three times for Town in 2007.
Last Six Meetings…
22/10/11: Bradford 2-1 Cobblers
Earlier this season, the Cobblers fell to a narrow defeat at Valley Parade with Michael Jacobs’ belter of a strike cancelled out by a Craig Fagan penalty before James Hanson completed the fight back with the winner soon after.
19/03/11: Bradford 1-1 Cobblers
Gary Johnson collected his first point in charge of the club at Bradford in this draw back in March 2011. Jake Speight had given the Bantams the lead with an early penalty but Shaun Harrad cancelled that out with a spot kick of his own on the hour mark. Jonathon Worthington was sent off in stoppage time for the hosts.
25/09/11: Cobblers 2-0 Bradford
Just a few days after the big win at Liverpool in last season’s Carling Cup, the Cobblers kept up the high spirits with a comfortable home victory. Billy McKay and Ben Tozer scored the goals at Sixfields.
01/05/10: Bradford 2-0 Cobblers
Bradford all but ended the Cobblers’ feint playoff hopes in our last away game of the 2009/10 season as a brace from Gareth Evans was enough to see us off. Dean Beckwith’s 37th minute red card didn’t help things!
03/10/09: Cobblers 2-2 Bradford
The Cobblers fell two goals behind in this entertaining contest in October 2009 thanks to goals from Simon Ramsden and Michael Boulding in quick succession. But substitute Alex Dyer pulled one back before John Johnson equalised in the final minute of the game.
17/03/07: Bradford 1-2 Cobblers
Billy Paynter gave the home side the lead in this relegation battle in League One but Bradley Johnson equalised just two minutes later. And with two minutes to go, Kenny Deuchar scored the winner to push the Cobblers ever closer to safety.
The Man In The Middle…
Oliver Langford takes control of this one having already been involved in a Cobblers match this season. Unfortunately it was one to forget – the 4-1 reverse at Plymouth Argyle!
So one more win and we’ll be over the finish line barring some ridiculous miracle of maths. I’ve got a good feeling that we will seal it on Saturday so am going for a 2-1 home win!