Torquay United v Northampton Town: Match Preview

Torquay-Plainmoor_1149761Torquay United v Northampton Town

League Two

Saturday, January 18th 2014

It’s been a case all ‘all quiet on the western front’ this week barring a small video release from David Cardoza so we go into the absolutely crucial trip to Torquay United with still no idea who will be taking our football club forwards. Add to that the fact that one of the candidates for the job will be sitting in the home dugout and this is a very awkward game.

Torquay made their decision early to appoint Chris Hargreaves and he’s taken no time at all to lay his marker down, leading his new charges to a 2-0 win at AFC Wimbledon last weekend. Krystian Pearce put them in front before Jayden Stockley netted in his first game back at the club since re-joining on loan from Hargreaves’ former club Bournemouth.

Other results meant that it wasn’t quite enough to take the Gulls out of the bottom two but Hargreaves was delighted at the performance and result – one that took them four points clear of the Cobblers at the bottom of League Two. The well-loved former Town midfielder can’t afford any sentiment to get in his way and will smell blood as he prepares for his first home game in charge.

Andy King takes the Cobblers reins for the fifth time at Plainmoor with one win, one draw and two defeats behind him including the hugely disappointing 2-0 home reverse against York City last Saturday. He seems as much in the dark as everyone else is about how long he’ll be here for but continues to come in and make some sort of sense from the direst of situations.

The only thing that we can do, as fans, is turn up on the day and try to put everything aside for ninety minutes to support our football club. You may not like the lack of communication, the patched up squad and the fact that we’re bottom of the league but we need to be right behind everyone representing Northampton Town for the stuff that really matters – league points.

Harding - out injured

Harding – out injured

Team News…

Torquay completed a deal for former Bournemouth defender Shaun Cooper this week and he goes straight into the squad. The Gulls have no fresh injury concerns but former Cobblers midfielder Ben Harding is still unavailable due to a foot injury. Ashley Yeoman may play some part after returning from a loan spell at Bideford.

The Cobblers have another new loan signing set for a debut with Crawley defender James Hurst joining on loan on Friday. Hurst started his career at West Brom and then moved on to Portsmouth before joining Icelandic Premier League side IBV on loan. He returned to West Brom in 2010 but only made one first team appearance, spending a lot of time out on loan at Blackpool, Shrewsbury, Chesterfield and Birmingham. He returned to Iceland again in 2013 with Valur and signed for Crawley on a one year deal last summer. He joins the Cobblers having made eighteen appearances for Crawley so far this season and comes straight into contention for the trip to Plainmoor.

Elsewhere, Joe Widdowson comes back in for the Cobblers after recovering from a shoulder injury whilst Roy O’Donovan is also back in the squad after turning down a move to Dubai this week. Andy King will assess O’Donovan’s fitness, though, before making any decision to bring him back in. Chris Hackett is still missing and will be for another two to three weeks whilst Mathias Doumbe isn’t expected back into training until next week.

Previous Six Meetings…

24/08/13: Cobblers 1-2 Torquay (League Two)

Jacob Blyth gave the Cobblers a seemingly comfortable lead back in the game at Sixfields earlier this season but two goals from Jordan Chappell stunned us and completely turned the game around in the second half.

29/03/13: Cobblers 1-0 Torquay (League Two)

On a tense Good Friday evening at Sixfields the game was goalless until Roy O’ Donovan nicked in for an eighty fifth minute winner that kept up an ultimately unsuccessful bid for a place in the top three last season.

15/12/12: Torquay 1-1 Cobblers (League Two)

Former Cobblers loan striker Ryan Jarvis put the Gulls in front in the away fixture last season and it looked like we were on course for defeat until Kelvin Langmead hammered in one of his trademark last minute goals to earn Town a point.

28/01/12: Torquay 1-0 Cobblers (League Two)

Mark Ellis scored the only goal of the game in the last meeting between the sides back in January with his header fifteen minutes from time sealing three points for the Gulls.

10/09/11: Cobblers 0-0 Torquay (League Two)

Uneventful draw at Sixfields earlier that season saw both sides go home relatively happy with a point.

25/03/11: Cobblers 2-2 Torquay (League Two)

In a manic finale to this crucial game towards the end the 2010/11 season, Eunan O’Kane gave Torquay the lead early on before John Johnson levelled. Billy Kee netted a 90th minute goal to seemingly give the Gulls all three points but incredibly Guillem Bauza equalised again in stoppage time!

The man in the middle…

Michael Naylor is in charge of this one having last took a Cobblers game back in October when Rochdale scored two late goals to beat us 3-2 at Spotland. His last Torquay game was in March 2012 in a 2-2 draw with Bristol Rovers. He’s shown 45 yellow cards and only 1 red in 21 games.

Prediction…

It’s safe to say that I’m not the most optimistic of Cobblers fans at the moment. It feel like the spirit is being drained from us as each week brings more uncertainty. With Chris Hargreaves flying off the mark last weekend and the home fans bursting to welcome him it’s going to be a really tough afternoon for anyone of a Cobblers persuasion. It’s rare that I predict a defeat but unfortunately I see it coming on Saturday. 1-2.

From the opposition…

To read the thoughts of Torquay fan Christina Smart, click here!

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