Less than six months ago the Cobblers travelled to Adams Park to take on Wycombe Wanderers in what was one of the most tense afternoons of last season’s final run in. It was scrappy, it was passionate, it was often edge of your pants type stuff and a 1-1 draw didn’t do an awful lot for either side’s survival hopes – or so it seemed at the time. We were locked together on 47 points apiece after that one with three games to go with Bristol Rovers also stuck on the same tally. It would, of course, be the Gas who suffered come the final kicks of the campaign but it was such a close run thing that the draw on that day actually did do some good for both the Cobblers and the Chairboys.
It makes it that bit more interesting that we’re now in a battle at the right end of League Two with Wanderers sitting in second place and the Cobblers fifth going into the latest battle between two proud football clubs on Saturday.
Gareth Ainsworth has been able to shape the squad and the biggest difference so far is the defensive record that currently stands as the best in the entire Football League. Wanderers have conceded just six times in their opening ten games and that’s helped them to seven straight games unbeaten with four wins and three draws taken since losing to Tranmere Rovers in mid-August.
They’re also playing some of the best football in the league as well and the general consensus is of a fresh start from a small and tight knit squad at Adams Park. Their only absentee tomorrow is set to be Gary Doherty but Danny Rowe has been recalled by Rotherham United after spending the first few months of the season on loan with the Chairboys.
More good news came this week with the decision from the Football League that Wycombe did not breach third party ownership rules after a complaint from Bristol Rovers that a deal by Wanderers to use sell on clause money to pay debts to former owner Steve Hayes meant that they broke rules. After four months of disputes it will be a big weight lifted from the club and they can move on with what looks like a good shout at promotion.
The Cobblers’ form has been a lot more inconsistent with a 5-1 win followed by a 5-4 defeat and then last Saturday’s 1-0 shut out at Morecambe but we’ve done enough to justify the current position ahead of the weekend and what’s sure to be a stern test of where we’re at. Chris Wilder will want more of what he saw last week defensively and is also looking at bringing top scorer Marc Richards back in after a hamstring injury kept him out at the Globe Arena.
Danny Alfei, Matt Duke, Emile Sinclair, Kelvin Langmead and Zander Diamond top the injury list for Town but the back-up has, in the majority, stepped right up to the plate so far. The test now is for them to string a set of results together that keep them in the top seven – with the run of games coming up that won’t be easy but we’ll have a better idea about the strength of the squad come the start of November.
So it’s a return to the scene of high tension back in April with both sides now looking for three points that would keep them on the road to create heart stopping moments for opposite reasons come the end of this campaign.