Scunthorpe United v Northampton Town
Saturday, March 8th 2014
If the Cobblers are going to take their recent upturn in results from Sixfields to the road then they’ll have to produce one hell of a performance on Saturday afternoon. Hosts Scunthorpe United are eighteen games unbeaten and in a group of sides vying for top spot and promotion from League Two. Chris Wilder will need his team to be at their very, very best if they’re to keep up a run that’s taken them off the bottom and to within four points of safety.
Scunthorpe’s long run without defeat came under threat last weekend with Newport County taking the lead against them at Rodney Parade but goals from Paddy Madden and David Syers turned it around. County grabbed a point late on through Chris Zebroski but it still represented a decent return for Russ Wilcox’s men.
Wilcox himself is, of course, a former Cobbler having played over 100 times for the club between 1986 and 1990 and will be hoping to keep up the outstanding form he’s brought to the side since replacing Brian Laws as boss back in November. Wilcox is yet to suffer a loss as manager and won’t want to lose that record against his old employers.
Heading up Scunny’s attack is prolific front man Sam Winnall who has scored eighteen goals this season and is the league’s leading marksman with Wilcox challenging him this week to make it to thirty by the end of the campaign.
For the Cobblers, after seven points from three home games it’s a huge test to get back on the road and to try and get something from Glanford Park. The odds are well and truly against us but with some renewed spirit in the camp you just never know…
Scunthorpe winger Gary McSheffrey is still a doubt ahead of the game with a back problem which kept him to a place on the bench for last weekend’s draw at Newport County. The hosts will also still be without Andy Welsh who has suffered a setback in his attempts to return from an Achilles injury. Deon Burton is the only other casualty as he misses out again with a calf problem.
The Cobblers will again wait on the fitness of Joe Widdowson but with Gregor Robertson putting in a couple of good shifts at left back recently there’s no guarantee of the left back getting straight back into the side on his return. Danny Emerton and Antonio German both left Sixfields this week so there could be a push back up the pecking order for youngster Ivan Toney with Chris Wilder hinting at more of a role for the striker this week.
Previous Six Meetings…
07/09/13: Cobblers 1-1 Scunthorpe (League Two)
After a poor start to this season, the Cobblers held Scunthorpe to a draw in early September to halt a run of four straight defeats in all competitions. Niall Canavan put the visitors in front mid-way through the second half but Clive Platt equalised with a rare goal with twelve minutes to go.
21/04/09: Cobblers 3-3 Scunthorpe (League One)
Jason Crowe put the Cobblers in front late in the first half but before the break Liam Trotter grabbed an equaliser for the visitors. Grant McCann’s spot kick had the Iron in front but Ikechi Anya levelled the game again on the hour mark. Matt Sparrow looked to have won it for his side but the Cobblers again pulled it back when Mark Hughes headed in a Danny Jackman corner to keep League One survival hopes alive.
13/12/08: Scunthorpe 4-4 Cobblers (League One)
In one of our most dramatic games in recent memory, Scunthorpe looked to be on the way to an easy win when they moved into a 4-1 lead thanks to braces from Ben May and Gary Hooper with Scott McGleish’s strike seemingly only a consolation when he scored in the midst of that pummelling. But Giles Coke made it 4-2 before Danny Jackman gave us real hope just before the hour mark. Jackman then completed an astonishing comeback when Jackman scored direct from a corner with five minutes to go!
09/04/07: Cobblers 2-1 Scunthorpe (League One)
A memorable Easter Monday saw hundreds of Cobblers fans march from Northampton Guildhall to Sixfields in protest of the council’s delays of the stadium redevelopment before the game. Scunthorpe went into the game knowing that a win would earn them promotion from League One but Alex Pearce, on loan from Reading, converted David Hunt’s corner to put us in front. Billy Sharp equalised mid-way through the second half but deep, deep into stoppage time came a memorable Sixfields moment as Jordan Robertson’s cross was fired in at the back post by Bradley Johnson to earn three points towards League One safety. Johnson was then sent off for his celebrations but the majority of Sixfields weren’t too fussed!
18/11/06: Scunthorpe 1-0 Cobblers (League One)
A much calmer meeting earlier that season saw the Iron take all three points thanks to an Andy Crosby penalty with four minutes to play at Glanford Park.
09/04/05: Cobblers 1-2 Scunthorpe (League Two)
Andy Kirk put the Cobblers in front early on at Sixfields but the lead wouldn’t last long as Paul Hayes equalised ten minutes later. Richard Kell netted what turned out to be the winner twenty minutes in with Town struggling to find a response.
The man in the middle…
Kevin Wright is the referee at Glanford Park on Saturday. His last Cobblers game was the 3-2 home defeat to Burton Albion on Boxing Day 2011 during which he sent of Town’s John Johnson early on. He also refereed another 3-2 home reverse in March 2011 against Shrewsbury Town while his last Scunthorpe game came during their last season in the Championship – a 2-0 home loss against Middlesbrough in November 2010.
An away game against a high flyer should take us down to earth after this recent mini revival at Sixfields. Scunny always cause us problems and this will be no different – they’re flying and en route to promotion so anything here would be an absolute bonus. That being said, we’ve at least given ourselves a sense that we can give most a good game these days and, maybe more in hope than expectation, I’m going for a draw. 1-1.