Saturday, November 16th 2013
It’s bottom against top at Sixfields on Saturday afternoon with the Cobblers going into this game eighteen points worse off than their opposition. Fleetwood have risen to the top of a competitive League Two table in recent weeks and are going fantastically in league and cup. Having reached the summit of League Two with a 4-1 win over Newport County, they went on to see off Gloucester City in the FA Cup and League One Carlisle United in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, both by a 2-0 score line.
Graham Alexander, in his first full campaign as a manager having replaced Mickey Mellon midway through last season, is looking to put right a poor run of form at the end of that season that saw his side win just twice in the final fifteen games to fall away from the playoff race. This time around it’s been a different story and he’s led them to nine victories in the first fifteen games as well as leading them to the JPT Semi-Finals.
The Cobblers have suffered from the opposite fate and are going through a season of change on the pitch. Short term loans are plugging the gaps of some poor decisions in the summer transfer windows but there were encouraging signs last Sunday, albeit at Bishop’s Stortford.
This is the real test of Aidy Boothroyd and his side’s expected new steel and he won’t personally be let off from the early form by the win over Stortford alone. We need more of the same and some as Fleetwood fly into Sixfields on a massive high.
Lee Collins picked up his fifth booking of the season last weekend and will sit out of this one through suspension, meaning that Ben Tozer is likely to fill in at right back. Kelvin Langmead’s recovery has been set back and he won’t be back until at least January while Clive Platt and Matt Heath are still not ready to return. Ricky Ravenhill and Kane Ferdinand should make their home debuts with fellow loanees Jacob Blyth and Luke Norris also likely starters. Stuart Dallas missed the cup tie at Bishop’s Stortford but he could come back into things but will need to dislodge Danny Emerton who did well and scored on Sunday.
Former Cobblers target Jamille Matt is the only long term injury worry for the Cod Army and Graham Alexander may stick with the winning side from Wednesday evening’s JPT win over Carlisle United.
05/01/13: Cobblers 3-1 Fleetwood (League Two)
Jake Robinson struck twice for the Cobblers in the first half at Sixfields last season to set Town on their way to a good victory. Clive Platt added a third just after half time before Jamie Allen scored a consolation in stoppage time.
15/09/12: Fleetwood 1-0 Cobblers (League Two)
Danny East is sent off before the half hour mark for the Cobblers in our first ever league meeting with Fleetwood. Town hold on right up until stoppage time when Andrew Mangan scores a dramatic winner for the hosts.
07/11/09: Cobblers 2-1 Fleetwood (FA Cup First Round)
In a tight cup game at Sixfields the Cobblers struggle to overcome their then non-league opponents as Luke Guttridge’s opener is cancelled out by Sean Clancy just before half-time. But Guttridge spares the blushes of his team by firing in the winner on the hour mark.
The man in the middle…
Gary Sutton is the man to take charge of this one having previously visited Sixfields in the 2-0 home defeat to York City towards the end of last season. His last Fleetwood game was their 4-0 home reverse against Burton Albion in February during which he sent off Cod Army keeper Scott Davies with the score still at 0-0. Sutton has officiated ten games so far this season and has shown 37 yellow cards and 3 reds.
There were improvements noticeable last week at Bishop’s Stortford but this is where the new set of signings will really be judged – against a Fleetwood side flying in the league and cup at the moment. It should be a tough afternoon and we could have to settle for a point. 1-1.
From the Opposition…
Fleetwood fan Amy Slater took part in this week’s Fan Feature, which you can read here.