Sixfields Stadium reaches a big milestone at the start of next season and never has the home of the Cobblers been more important than it will be in the coming weeks. The Cobblers, off the back of defeat at Fleetwood Town on Saturday, now face three home games in a week starting with Saturday afternoon’s visit of Hartlepool United. This is obviously the biggest week of the season so far and we have to come out the other side with at least two wins from those three games to give us a chance.
But contending with Coventry City’s ‘home’ games is also going to be a challenge – the Sky Blues’ use of the pitch means that there will be games on the Sixfields pitch on February 22nd, February 25th, March 1st, March 2nd, March 5th and March 8th – that’s six games in fifteen days. With the current shocking weather set to return as well the pitch is likely to get an absolute battering by the time we return for four more home games between March 15th and March 29th.
It’s the worst time possible to be in a ground share situation and fellow relegation rivals Wycombe Wanderers are suffering from something similar with London Wasps sharing their Adams Park stadium. Neither the Cobblers or Wycombe have won a home game since the turn of the year but both will have to learn quickly to deal with what’s likely to be some questionable conditions under foot.
There can, though, be no excuses in the coming months. Mud and pot holes don’t stop effort and commitment and they are the qualities that we need in abundance from now until May. The Fleetwood defeat can go unnoticed if we come back with a stash of points from the coming seven day period that could define our season. After Hartlepool come Southend United to try and stake their claim as Town’s bogey team once again and then Bristol Rovers come to Town a week on Saturday in a crunch clash with the Gas being another relegation threatened outfit.
As Sixfields Stadium draws close to its 20th birthday this year the challenge is now to make sure that we don’t celebrate this milestone by hosting a Skrill Premier game but instead write a brand new chapter in its history and create the sort of moments that will be remembered another twenty years on.