Northampton Town v Wycombe Wanderers: Match Preview

sixfieldsNorthampton Town v Wycombe Wanderers

League Two

Saturday, December 21st 2013

It’s the final game before Christmas and the Cobblers have one final opportunity to spread some cheer and finally escape the clutches of the bottom two. A point at Bury last weekend was coupled with a good performance that could easily have seen us claim all three points and if we can keep up that sort of level then there’s every chance that we can have a positive start to a busy festive fixture list.

We come up against a Wycombe side who are slowly slipping down the table having gone eight games without a win but did grab a crucial last second equaliser last weekend when Leon Johnson headed in to earn a draw at home to Scunthorpe United. That point was all the more impressive given that the Chairboys had been reduced to ten men earlier in the game thanks to the sending off of midfielder Josh Scowen with twenty minutes to play.

That could give Gareth Ainsworth’s men a timely boost in confidence ahead of their trip to Sixfields but the Cobblers should need no extra motivation other than that all three points are likely to lead to a Christmas Day boost of at least starting to move up the table.

Town boss Aidy Boothroyd is happy with the fight shown recently but is already starting to plan for a January transfer window clear out, having now built a squad that’s bursting at the seams. Those squad members may be called into action with three big games before the turn of the year with maybe one final chance for some to impress.

O' Donovan...back in action

O’ Donovan…back in action

Team News…

Cobblers striker Roy O’Donovan returned to action last weekend at Bury and came off the bench to play his first game in two months and he’s pushing for a start once again. Apart from the long term injury victims there are no other problems in the camp.

Wycombe have Josh Scowen missing through suspension after he was sent off last weekend while striker Paris Cowan-Hall is touch and go after coming off in the draw with Scunthorpe United with a knee problem. Gareth Ainsworth is hoping to be able to call on the services of central defender Gary Doherty who missed that game with a back injury. Elsewhere, Steven Craig will miss the next six weeks with a pulled thigh muscle.

Previous Six Meetings…

16/04/13: Wycombe 0-0 Cobblers (League Two)

A rearranged game because of a waterlogged pitch in the originally planned game ended in a goalless draw that effectively put the Cobblers out of last season’s race for the top three.

17/11/12: Cobblers 3-1 Wycombe (League Two)

Earlier that season the Cobblers got the better of Wanderers with a good home win thanks to Bayo Akinfenwa’s double, one a penalty, and Chris Hackett’s second half strike. Joel Grant’s spot kick looked to set up a nervy conclusion but Town held out for an important three points.

16/04/11: Wycombe 2-2 Cobblers (League Two)

An entertaining encounter at Adams Park saw Shaun Harrad give Town the lead from the penalty spot on twenty minutes before Guillem Bauza doubled the advantage. But second half goals from Scott Donnelly and Leon Johnson earned Wycombe a point en route to their eventual promotion.

28/08/11: Cobblers 1-1 Wycombe (League Two)

Andy Sandell looked like he had claimed all three points for Wanderers after netting in the first half but the Cobblers won a late penalty which was converted by Kevin Thornton to give us a share of the spoils.

01/09/09: Wycombe 2-2 Cobblers – After extra time, Cobblers win 3-0 on pens (JPT First Round)

A back and forth JPT First Round tie saw Ryan Gilligan hand Town the lead from the spot before John-Paul Pittman levelled via the same method. Steve Guinan thought he had won it when he scored four minutes from time but Pittman equalised again in stoppage time. After a goalless period of extra time, though, Wycombe contrived to miss all of their penalties in the shoot-out. The Cobblers scored all three of their kicks and headed through to Round Two.

31/01/06: Cobblers 0-0 Wycombe (League Two)

Stalemate at Sixfields as the Cobblers’ charge towards promotion is temporarily halted by a stubborn Wycombe side.

The man in the middle…

Taking charge at Sixfields on Saturday is Simon Hooper. Hooper last officiated a Cobblers game in October 2012 in the 2-1 home defeat to Gillingham, during which he sent off the Gills’ Charlie Allan in stoppage time.

Prediction…

It’s the last chance to get out of the bottom two before Christmas and we’re starting to really rely on home form again. A victory would be the best kind of early present against a side that could easily be dragged into the pack based on recent form. Let’s go for some Christmas cheer and a 2-1 Cobblers win!

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