This weekend was a very nice one indeed for the Cobblers as not only did we enjoy panicking about results from those at the TOP end of the League Two table but also the majority of those within immediately close proximity dropped points, meaning that we remain in third place going into this evening’s final chapter of the results watching period.
Top club Port Vale kicked things off on Thursday night with their live Sky showing at Wimbledon. Even though catching them for the coveted place at the summit of League Two is a long shot it was still nice to be keeping an eye on it hoping that AFC Wimbledon would be victorious and that the league leaders would drop some points. Despite fighting back from two down for a 2-2 draw Vale did just that and it was a good start to the weekend.
Cheltenham would fare no better on Friday night in difficult conditions as they battled Rochdale, fresh from re-installing Keith Hill as their manager, at Whaddon Road. The Rubies needed a victory to overtake Town and move back into third place but the team from Spotland held out for a 0-0 draw that kept us there on goal difference.
Only Rotherham United could then catch the Cobblers on Saturday and their surprise 3-1 reverse at home to Bristol Rovers brought us more cheer with Aidy Boothroyd surely more than happy with the results that were coming in. It means that Exeter City are the final team that can knock us down a place before the huge trip to Gillingham tomorrow evening when they face Devon rivals Torquay United at St. James’ Park tonight, another live League Two game on Sky. To add to the fun, Gillingham could only draw at home to York City, meaning that a win at the Priestfield would bring us to within three points of the Gills.
Whatever happens there, though, it was a joyful weekend to be checking scores and not looking for the bottom clubs to slip up but for the top ones to drop some points as the season moves into a frantic stage of rearranged and cold Tuesday night games that will ultimately shape a destiny that’s getting that bit more exciting for the Cobblers.
It’s very, very close, though with victories for Burton, Southend and Fleetwood bringing them all into contention again. Indeed only two points separate the Cobblers in third and Fleetwood in eighth, just outside the playoff positions.
The next three games are absolutely massive with trips to Gillingham and Rotherham followed by another Tuesday night outing, this time at AFC Wimbledon. If we’re still in the top seven following these three games then I’ll be delighted. If the squad is also still intact (the transfer window ‘slams’ shut on Thursday evening) then I’ll be extra pleased.
There’s been one incoming transfer today with the loan signing of Brentford midfielder Emmanuel Oyeleke for a month. He can play anywhere across the midfield and also at full back so it’s a sensible one in terms of cover at the back and strengthening going forwards. Oyeleke came through the ranks at Chelsea but was released in 2008 and spent two years with QPR’s youth set up before moving to the Bees in 2010.
It’s the outgoings that will likely provide any further talking points with still no ‘concrete’ offers coming for any of our players. If things can stay that way and we can still be sat here in a month’s time in promotion contention then we might just be able to begin to dream.
Finally, good luck to our good friends Torquay United this evening!