Northampton Town v Accrington Stanley: Match Preview

sixfieldsNorthampton Town v Accrington Stanley

League Two

Saturday, November 30th 2013

There needs to be no fancy introduction for this one…Accrington, eight games unbeaten and flying after a rejuvenation in recent weeks, come to Sixfields for what is our biggest game of the season by some way. It’s not just the fact that Stanley are still in touching distance from us but that they are looked at as beatable despite that recent form.

The Cobblers simply have to win this one and I don’t think it’s showing any disrespect to Accrington to say that. They are where they are because of a run of results that we can only be envious of but we have to be going all out to break them down and bring them back into the pack. Anything less than three points will bring great scrutiny from three sides of Sixfields and the good work of Tuesday night’s point at Chesterfield would be undone.

There’s a new front man to bolster the forward line (how many times have I said that this season?!) with Izale McLeod coming in this week and we’ve got to hope that he is ready to do the business from the off.

It’s must win – pressure in itself – but the collection of three points here would be ginormous, such are the thin lines we’re playing with. Nerves at the ready…

McLeod...set for Cobblers debut

McLeod…set for Cobblers debut

Team News…

Izale McLeod is set for his debut after signing on Thursday but Kane Ferdinand was recalled by Peterborough on the same day, leaving an opening in central midfield. Ben Tozer was bizarrely loaned to Colchester United so it could give Gary Deegan or Darren Carter a second chance in the middle of the park. Kelvin Langmead suffered yet another setback this week and could be out until March with Lewis Hornby and Alex Nicholls still on the long term injury list. Chris Hackett is suspended so Stuart Dallas or Danny Emerton may take his place on the right hand side.

Accrington manager James Beattie has Nicky Hunt back in contention after he served a one match suspension on Tuesday night whilst Laurence Wilson is also back. Rob Atkinson is nearing full fitness following a layoff with a hamstring injury but Andrew Dawber will be missing for up to a month after undergoing minor groin surgery. Lee Naylor is ready to return but faces competition from Michael Liddle who has done well in the last couple of games.

Previous Six Meetings…

09/03/13: Cobblers 2-0 Accrington (League Two)

Chris Hackett and Roy O’ Donovan struck in the first half of last season’s Sixfields encounter with the Cobblers recording an important victory on the road to the playoffs.

10/11/12: Accrington 2-4 Cobblers (League Two)

Bayo Akinfenwa hit a stunning hat-trick including a memorable diving header to earn a big three points for the Cobblers at the Crown Ground. The big man had given us the lead early on before George Miller and Romy Boco turned the game in the home side’s favour. But substitute Jake Robinson equalised before Bayo took centre stage to score the two goals that won it for Town.

17/03/12: Accrington 2-1 Cobblers (League Two)

Jamie Devitt put Stanley in front just before half-time before loan striker Brett Williams looked to have earned us a point. But Craig Linfield popped up with three minutes to go to win the game for the hosts as the Cobblers battled relegation at the end of last season.

06/08/11: Cobblers 0-0 Accrington (League Two)

The opening day of the 2011/12 season saw the sides cancel each other out on a frustrating afternoon. Jake Robinson went closest for Town with a turn and shot that was cleared off the line in the first half.

02/04/11: Accrington 3-1 Cobblers (League Two)

Accrington took a three goal lead into half-time through Ian Craney’s double strike and Sean McConville. Michael Jacob’s second half goal wasn’t enough to prevent a big defeat at the Crown Ground.

14/08/10: Cobblers 0-0 Accrington (League Two)

In the first home game of the 2010/11 season, there was a similar outcome to that of the start of the next season with a 0-0 draw kicking off the League Two Sixfields campaign.

The man in the middle…

Taking this one is David Phillips¸ who was last the referee for a Cobblers game in the 1-0 home win over Plymouth Argyle back in February. He’s shown forty yellow cards and four reds so far this season in ten games.

Prediction…

I’ve got to go with a Cobblers win here, if only to keep my own sanity and belief. We could do with an early goal to settle the nerves and if we do that I think we’ll win. 2-1

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