It was at this time last season that the Cobblers were starting a run of home form that effectively took them into the playoffs and, for a short time, even threatened to help us into the top three of League Two. We came away from home games with victory after victory and found ourselves fighting for promotion rather than battling the drop that we’d been fighting against for the two seasons previous.
Now we’re back at the other end of things and more than ever the Cobblers need home comforts but this time in a rescue mission that Chris Wilder is rushing head long into. Eleven out of our final nineteen games are at home and Wilder has come out this week to emphasise the need for support and the backing of Cobblers fans in these most worrying of times. Part of the reason that Wilder didn’t endear himself to the Oxford fans as much this season was their form at the Kassam Stadium but these are completely different circumstances.
Town have lost their last three home games but head into Saturday’s fixture with Plymouth Argyle with the possibility of four players making their home debuts. The stability of Leon McSweeney’s contribution at Cheltenham surely won’t go unnoticed and I would expect him to start with Emile Sinclair and Alan Connell likely to lead the line having both come through a full week of training and fitness work. It’s crucial that we call on their collective goal getting experience to excite the home support which, to be fair, hasn’t dwindled as much as it might given the dreadful circumstances and performances of the last couple of months.
Added to that and we’ve got another shiny new signing this week with the free transfer of defender Gregor Robertson. Robertson was a youth player with Hearts and Nottingham Forest before signing a full contract at the City Ground in 2002. After three seasons he moved to Rotherham United, where he scored his first professional goal during his 52 appearances with the Millers. His longest stint at a club followed as he signed for Chesterfield in 2007 and left in 2012 following over a hundred games. He’s been with Crewe Alexandra for the last couple of years but had his contract terminated in the middle of January, freeing him up to a move to Sixfields.
Robertson should give us a bit more experience at the back and with last week’s signings it could look like the opening day of the season for many Town fans returning to Sixfields on Saturday!
If we can channel any of last season’s form at the home of football then we’ll not only close the gap between ourselves and safety but, perhaps more importantly, bridge the gap that opened between club and supporter in the last month or so.