The list grows again!

Capital-One-Cup-1-1It feels as though more should be made of the Cobblers’ recent exploits in the League Cup. It’s becoming an annual tradition to come up against a higher league opponent and knock them for six in this competition and though we never seem to go on to a monumental and historical run in the cup this early humbling of a ‘giant’ is getting more and more regular.

Blackpool, admittedly, don’t fall in the same class as the likes of the Bolton, Reading, Ipswich, Wolves and Liverpool teams of past campaigns but it’s still a notable scalp especially with a 3-0 score line that illustrates both the disappointing demise of the Tangerines and the solid base of a Cobblers squad that Chris Wilder has put together.

Apart from the back four, that was unchanged from Saturday, there were changes across the pitch with Ryan Clarke staking his first official claim for the keeper’s jersey and Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Sam Hoskins given their first chance to shine in competitive action. Also included was Chris Hackett, and the winger did exactly what fellow transfer listed midfield John-Joe O’Toole did on Saturday by scoring the opening goal, no doubt giving Wilder more to think about.

In a stunning spell of ten minutes, Town went 3-0 up and all but ended the game as a contest by the half hour mark. Calvert-Lewin cleverly turned and shot into the corner for the second and Hoskins’ tenacity and will power gave him the Cobblers’ third as the striker battled his way through and finished left footed at the second attempt.

There could well have been more as well with Ryan Cresswell firing over when well positioned in the second half and Calvert-Lewin doing well to force another chance for himself that was saved by Tangerines keeper Kyle Letheren.

Blackpool were limited to a couple of good chances that they would have converted with a more ruthless front line. We’ll arguably come up against plenty more effective and trickier attacks back in League Two and anyone with a bit of pace could hurt us at the back but there seems to be a real fluidity to how we’re going forwards so far this season.

The new signings have bedded in well and early with the old heads giving us a good balance. You can’t get too carried away by two wins but from what I’ve seen so far highlights wise there’s a lot to be positive about as we head into another busy few days.

The Second Round draw takes place on Thursday evening so we wait to see what sort of reward we’ll get for this latest League Cup success story.

————————————————————————————————————————————-

Exeter City come to town on Saturday afternoon looking to build on their own terrific start to the season. The Grecians saw off relegated Yeovil 3-2 last week and then impressively won away 2-1 at League One promotion hopefuls Swindon Town on Tuesday night. That win at the County Ground saw former Cobbler Alex Nicholls net a top drawer opening goal and he’ll be desperate to impress once again in his first game back at Sixfields since leaving the Cobblers last season.

Speaking of ex Cobblers, check out former loanee Kemar Roofe’s strike at Brentford on Tuesday night during the U’s 4-0 hammering of the Bees. Goal of the cup candidate already…

Another League Cup moment for gutsy Cobblers…

League Cup

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-3 Northampton Town

Capital One Cup

Tuesday, August 12th 2014

Add Wolverhampton Wanderers to the list. The League Cup has become a competition that the Cobblers have used to create historical and jubilant moments in recent years with last night’s win at Molineux the latest in a long line of upsets. While we haven’t ever threatened to reach the heights of the likes of Bradford City in terms of progression through to the later stages we have made moments and memories in earlier rounds before making a graceful exit and this was no different.

It took three attempts to down Wolves after two previous ties against them saw us lose 4-0 and 3-1 at Sixfields but somehow Town turned everything on its head with a stunning away win last night to move into Round Two. It was a performance built on defensive organisation, swift break away football and the right amount of guts and determination that’s always needed if you’re going to knock off a side of this stature on their own patch.

I said after the Liverpool win in 2010 that the League Cup is often looked down on but when you get a night like this as a ‘smaller’ side only the feeling of promotion really tops it. Call it an over the top assessment if you like but what it definitely represents is an early reminder to anyone still in summer holiday mode how proud a group of footballers can make us – anyone still not fully engaged with the football season starting before this game will undoubtedly be all in now.

The first half was all about three disallowed goals and the Cobblers making it to the break with a clean sheet somehow still intact. There seemed no great arguments from Wolves players about the decisions and it says a lot about the organisation of the new look back four that Wilder placed his trust in that the line was held brilliantly all three times. There were brief attacks on the home goal through a deflected Ivan Toney shot and a Ricky Ravenhill effort but there were no signs of what was to come as the half-time whistle sounded.

Town started well in the second half and forced a couple of chances before Lawson D’Ath was introduced. The player who had previously scored on his debut for his last two clubs was about to make it three out of three on a big stage. After coming off the bench in the 55th minute he took just three minutes to strike when he got on the end of a flick from Toney and, after a bit of luck with the bounce, the former Reading man brought the ball under control and stabbed it under home keeper Aaron McCarey.

It was game on from there and a crazy few minutes ensued. Town fans were in dreamland when Kaid Mohammed – one of those to excel on the night – sent in a corner for Toney to nod home into the corner for his fifth goal in his last four Cobblers games. The young lad’s stature is growing at an incredible rate and he’s making big problems for Wilder to deal with selection wise for the coming games. The fact that he’s one of our own just makes it that bit more special every time he finds the net. A slender lead just became a huge possibility of a shock.

Wolves weren’t done with this one, though, and fought back impressively within minutes as Nouha Dicko, scorer of thirteen goals last season, finished from close range and then Sam Ricketts hammered in a belter from distance to seemingly break the hearts of the travelling contingent. It was surely now all about the Championship side finishing the job.

But huge credit to the Cobblers for what came next – rather than accept a fate or hold out for extra time and the lottery of penalties we rallied again and that man D’Ath made the most of hesitation in the home defence to nip in and loop a header over the keeper for 3-2 with fifteen minutes to go.

Now was the time to finally shut up shop…there was something big to hold on to and Ben Tozer’s introduction for Danny Alfei, who had been tormented by Wolves winger Liam McAlinden for most of the night made sense. Tozer’s debut was that unforgettable night at Anfield and the longest serving current Town player helped to see out another big win for his side. There were five minutes of injury time for the second game in a row but we held firm for another magnificent result to add to the archives.

Tonight’s draw follows the live game at Sixfields of Coventry taking on Cardiff City and with one big player in Man United thrown in to Round Two for the first time in years and a host of other Premier League possibilities we wait to see who could be next in line.

Even if we do go out now we still have another notable result to ink into the books.

Northampton Town v MK Dons: Match Preview

sixfieldsNorthampton Town v MK Dons

Capital One Cup First Round

Tuesday, August 6th 2013

After the last gasp defeat at York, the home campaign kicks off tonight with a ‘local derby’ against MK Dons in the first round of the Capital One Cup. There was a lot of negativity following the opening day loss but with home form one of the main reasons for the trip to Wembley last season and with the Franchise making their way down the road what better way to get back on track ahead of Newport County’s visit on Saturday in League Two?!

Karl Robinson’s men kicked off their League One campaign on Saturday with a goalless draw at Shrewsbury Town and after missing out on the playoffs last season they will be hoping to get their own season up and running with a cup victory before hosting Crewe at the weekend.

This summer hasn’t seen wholesale changes for the Dons with Southampton’s Ben Reeves and Watford’s Lee Hodson the main signings so far as well as striker Patrick Bamford extending his loan spell from Chelsea until January 2014. And with injuries to a couple of key strikers it may not be a completely first choice side that the Cobblers face this evening. Whether Aidy Boothroyd also looks at his squad players is yet to be seen…

 

Team News…

The Cobblers are still without Clive Platt and Chris Hackett but both are expected to return to training on Thursday. Midfielder Darren Carter serves his one match suspension after seeing red in the York game on Saturday whilst Lewis Hornby is struggling with pains on the right hand side of his body that still haven’t cleared up.

Dons strikers Dean Bowditch and Daniel Powell both sat out of the league opener at the weekend and will both miss out again. Dean Lewington is having a scan on his knee and Karl Robinson may turn to youngsters like Dele Ali and Tom Flanagan for this one.

 

wilbraham

Wilbraham…perennial scorer against the Cobblers

Previous Meetings…

04/09/12: Cobblers 1-0 MK Dons (Johnstone’s Paint Trophy)

In the First Round of last season’s JPT, the Cobblers came past the Dons thanks to a wonder strike from Jake Robinson from distance. Town would eventually reach the Area Quarter Finals of the competition.

10/11/09: MK Dons 3-1 Cobblers (Johnstone’s Paint Trophy)

In this Southern Area Quarter Final tie, Aaron Wilbraham put the hosts in front early on before Sam Baldock struck twice before the break, one a penalty, to give Dons complete control. Steve Guinan pulled one back after the break but it wasn’t enough for the Cobblers.

28/04/09: Cobblers 0-1 MK Dons (League One)

With the Cobblers only one point away from ensuring League One safety, we seemed all set to secure that status in the final home game of the season on a nervy Tuesday night. But the Dons had other ideas and Aaron Wilbraham crashed home the decisive winner meaning that Town had to go to Leeds on the final day of the season still not safe. A 3-0 defeat at Elland Road then condemned us to the drop.

16/08/08: MK Dons 1-0 Cobblers (League One)

Wilbraham was also the only scorer earlier in the season in our first away game as he scored mid-way through the second half to secure early bragging rights for his side.

 

The man in the middle…

Christopher Sarginson takes charge of the cup tie this evening having not been in action over the weekend. Sarginson officiated two Cobblers games last season, both of which ended in 1-1 draws (at Torquay and Morecambe). His last MK Dons game was a 1-1 draw with Preston North End in April 2012.

 

Prediction…

It’s hard to see what sort of team both clubs will put out but it’s fair to say that we need a booster ahead of Saturday so Aidy Boothroyd should have whoever plays fired up for this. Places could be up for grabs still and I think we can bounce back this evening, though it may go all the way. Cobblers on penalties!

Northampton Town v Wolverhampton Wanderers (Capital One Cup Second Round): Match Preview

Northampton Town v Wolverhampton Wanderers

Capital One Cup Second Round

Thursday, August 30th 2012

For the second season in a row the Cobblers have been handed a repeat draw in the League Cup as we host the side that knocked us out of last season’s competition in convincing fashion, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Having been dumped out by Ipswich in 2010 and then gaining revenge on them a year later by putting them out in the First Round, Aidy Boothroyd will be hoping for a repeat after Wolves’ big win at Sixfields a year ago.

Happy Sixfields memories for Wolves…

Last season’s League Cup Second Round saw Wanderers win 4-0 at Sixfields thanks to goals from Sylvain Ebanks-Blake (2), Nenad Milijas and Sam Vokes. They went on to win 5-0 in the Third Round against Millwall but were knocked out by Manchester City who won 5-2 at Molineux in the fourth.

Under new management…

Mick McCarthy was dismissed by Wolves back in February after six years at the club with his successor Terry Connor unable to keep them in the Premier League. But now there’s a sense of fresh hope with new boss Stale Solbakken taking the job over the summer and the former FC Copenhagen and FC Koln boss is hoping for a quick return to the top flight.

Mixed start…

Solbakken was handed a difficult opener to his first season in English football management with a 1-0 defeat at Leeds United welcoming them into the Championship. But from there they saw off Barnsley in comfortable fashion, winning 3-1 at Molineux before drawing 1-1 with Derby County at the weekend in a game that saw Derby’s Theo Robinson equalise in stoppage time.

Boukari…new recruit

New Faces…

Wolves have brought in two new faces this week with the signings of winger Razak Boukari on a four year deal from Rennes and Bakary Sako on a three year contract from St Etienne. They join other summer recruits Frank Nouble, Bjorn Sigurdson, Georg Margreitter, Tongo Doumbia and Slawomir Peszko at the club.

The Cobblers have also strengthened this week with the acquisition of Danny East on a one month loan deal from Hull City and he goes straight into the squad.

Team News…

The Cobblers will once again have to field rookie goalkeeper Dean Snedker after Wigan’s refusal to allow Lee Nicholls to play in the competition. Snedker came through the First Round clash with Cardiff and will again have a chance to shine. Aidy Boothroyd has mentioned that fringe players may get a chance with the likes of Henoc Mukendi, Louis Moult, Lewis Wilson and Anthony Charles also possible inclusions. Bayo Akinfenwa is also on the sub’s list at the moment and could get his first start of the season. With a trip to Plymouth coming two days after this match there could be a fair bit of chopping and changing from the Town boss.

Wolves are in a similar boat and are also likely to change around their side again. Those definitely missing are Karl Henry (hamstring) and Jamie O’ Hara (hernia) whilst Bakary Sako is awaiting international clearance for the game.

Previous Meetings…

23/08/11: Cobblers 0-4 Wolves (League Cup Second Round)

Just over a year ago, Nenad Milijas gave Wolves the lead in the same stage of the competition at Sixfields. Sylvain Ebanks-Blake made it two before half time and a comfortable win was sealed with late goals from Ebanks-Blake again and Sam Vokes.

The sides hadn’t previously met since May 1989 in the old Division Three when I was just four years old. That meeting at Molineux ended 3-2 in favour of Wolves but the Cobblers had won the reverse fixture the previous December 3-1. There have only ever been seven competitive games between the sides with Wolves winning four, the Cobblers two and with one draw.

Prediction…

On paper it’s another potential upset for the Cobblers but I can see this being just as much of a challenge as last season and we’ll have to be well on our game to come close. I would imagine Wolves would field a stronger side than Cardiff City did a few weeks ago and the best we can hope for will probably be a shot at extra-time. I’ll go for a 1-1 draw after ninety minutes!

***For a preview from a Wolves perspective, check out the following link: ***

http://www.wolvesblog.com/4929/northampton-town-vs-wolves-preview

Wolves again in Round Two!

So it’s Wolves again in the League Cup after this afternoon’s draw paired us with the side who knocked us out of the competition last season at the same stage. The Cobblers went down 4-0 at home to Wanderers on that occasion and it will be another struggle to get past them as their ranks look to impress new boss Stale Solbakken.

Here is the full draw, with matches set for the 28th and 29th August:

Watford v Bradford City

Swansea City v Barnsley

Yeovil v West Bromwich Albion

Coventry City v Birmingham City

West Ham United v Crewe Alexandra

Doncaster Rovers v Hull City

Carlisle United v Ipswich Town

Reading v Peterborough United

Sheffield Wednesday v Fulham

Leicester City v Burton Albion

Burnley v Plymouth Argyle

Queens Park Rangers v Walsall

Stevenage v Southampton

Nottingham Forest v Wigan Athletic

Stoke City v Swindon Town

Aston Villa v Tranmere Rovers

Crawley Town v Bolton Wanderers

Gillingham v Middlesbrough

Northampton Town v Wolverhampton Wanderers

Everton v Leyton Orient

MK Dons v Blackburn Rovers

Leeds United v Oxford United

Sunderland v Morecambe

Norwich City v Scunthorpe United

How to start a season…

Northampton Town 2-1 Cardiff City

Capital One Cup First Round

Tuesday, August 14th 2012

It’s a set of ideals that the Cobblers have been lacking in recent campaigns – the rules as to how to kick off a season perfectly. But last night in front of an unknowing crowd at Sixfields the 2012/13 season got off to the start that we’ve been craving for many, many years. The only minor problem with the victory over last season’s League Cup finalists Cardiff City was that it was indeed a cup match and didn’t have the effect of handing us three points. Weigh that up with the fact that we’re going into the start of the league season on Saturday already in Round Two of the cup – we find out our opposition at around 12:30pm this afternoon – and I think we’ll accept it.

I never expected it. Not just the win but the anticipation, thrill and joy of it all coming streaming back to me. I’ve been intensely caught up in the Olympics, as most of us have, over the past couple of weeks and I think I’d trained my body to sit through streams of pre-season friendly results with a shrug of the shoulder rather than panic about what might or might not be worrying us during warm up games. So I was going into last night with a sense of calm. It felt beforehand very much like a friendly match similar to those played against Derby, West Ham and Spurs ‘elevens’ over the past couple of weeks.

It took just four minutes for me to realise that the season had, actually, began. My reaction to Cardiff’s first goal – a penalty converted by one of their more experienced players on this night Heidar Helguson – was not one of shrugging shoulders standard but more of “hold on, this means something.

I was into this now. I admit I had needed longer than usual to get ready for the season to start after the quick turnaround from the Olympics but it was like myself from years before came and slapped me in the face with a wet fish and told me to wake up and smell the beauty of the football season coming around again.

Luckily that meant that I was ready for the joy of what was to come as David Artell marked an extraordinary few days for him by heading in the equaliser on his Cobblers debut. On Friday he was perhaps preparing to be a part of Port Vale’s squad in this competition but by Tuesday night he had a whole new band of followers and what a way to endear himself to the claret faithful.

The fact that former Posh keeper Joe Lewis was guarding the Cardiff goal made it that much sweeter as the Cobblers peppered his goal with the words ‘flapping’ being branded across the commentary. The winner came from another ball into the box with another new boy netting his first goal. Alex Nicholls rose to nod in at the far post and the Cobblers were on the way to yet another upset in a competition we are starting to call our own in terms of upsets.

Only Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton have soundly beaten us over the last couple of seasons in the League Cup with Cardiff set to join the list of Bolton, Brighton, Reading, Liverpool and Ipswich by not posing too much of a threat to the Town goal. It seemed that we were the ones more likely to add to the score line in fact with late chances for Kelvin Langmead and Nicholls again.

It says a lot for rookie goalkeeper Dean Snedker who at 17 years old came in to fill the void left by Wigan’s refusal to allow permission to Lee Nicholls to play in the competition for us. Snedker wasn’t mentioned too much and that’s a sign that he did his job solidly. Aidy Boothroyd stressed before the match that sometimes you have to throw someone in at the deep end to see what they’re made of and Snedker answered him in fine fashion.

As well as positive debuts for Alex Nicholls, Artell, Chris Hackett, Ishmel Demontagnac and Clive Platt there was a cameo from a man who could be a key ace up our sleeve in Henoc Mukendi and a towering performance from new left back Joe Widdowson. Compare that to those making debuts at this time last season particularly that of poor Ashley Corker, and we have a lot to build on.

Of course we have to curb the enthusiasm a little bit. Rochdale is a much bigger game on Saturday and the opening month of the season is perhaps the toughest of starts we’ve had for a while.

All eyes will well and truly be on that now but I’m very happy to finally realise that football is back!

League Cup Second Round Seedings (draw this afternoon at 12:30pm)

Seeded teams:

Aston Villa, Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Everton, Fulham, Hull City, Ipswich Town, Leeds United, Leicester City, Middlesbrough, Norwich City, Queens Park Rangers, Reading, Southampton, Stoke City, Sunderland, Swansea City, Watford, West Brom, West Ham, Wigan Athletic, Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Unseeded: Barnsley, Bradford City, Burton Albion, Carlisle United, Coventry City, Crawley Town, Crewe Alexandra, Colchester United, Doncaster Rovers, Gillingham, Leyton Orient, Morecambe, MK Dons, Northampton Town, Nottingham Forest, Oxford United, Peterborough United, Plymouth Argyle, Preston North End, Scunthorpe United, Sheffield Wednesday, Stevenage, Swindon Town, Tranmere Rovers, Walsall.

Northampton Town v Cardiff City (Capital One Cup First Round) Preview

Northampton Town v Cardiff City

Capital One Cup First Round

Tuesday, 14th August 2012 (7:45pm)

It’s a strange old start to the 2012/12 season as, rather than kick off with a league fixture, the Cobblers start with a League Cup tie at home to last season’s beaten finalists Cardiff City at Sixfields on Tuesday night.

So close to glory…

City took Liverpool all the way in last season’s final, only losing out on penalties at Wembley having fought past Oxford, Huddersfield, Leicester, Burnley, Blackburn and Crystal Palace to get there. Five out of the seven ties they faced went at least to extra time but they were just edged out by the club who gave us everlasting memories in this competition almost two years ago. The First Round tie at Oxford saw them come through with a young side, so whatever side they put out tonight is likely to be hungry for a repeat performance.

They also suffered defeat in the Championship playoffs for the third season in a row and will go into this season as one of the favourites for promotion once again.

Seeing Red…

The summer has seen major changes off the pitch with the club’s Malaysian owners going through with a change of their kit colour from blue to red in an attempt to expand the club’s appeal in the international markets. There are also plans in place to expand the stadium and invest heavily in their training facilities as part of the new moves as a new era looks set to burst into life despite some opposition to the changes in the kit colour.

‘The Bellamy factor’

It won’t have escaped most people’s attention that recent ‘Team GB’ skipper and passionate Welshman Craig Bellamy has re-joined City with a free transfer from Liverpool finalised last week as Bellamy joined on a two year deal. It’s unlikely that the forward will be available for the Sixfields clash after a call up for the Wales squad and their friendly with Bosnia-Hercegovina on Wednesday night but he’s likely to spearhead a promotion push in the season ahead.

Friendly success…

The final warm up game for City saw them hammer Newcastle United 4-1 at the Cardiff City Stadium as they completed their season friendlies with a bang so they’re in good shape going into the cup tie at Sixfields.

Team News…

New Cobblers loan keeper Lee Nicholls has been denied a chance to play in the match after parent club Wigan Athletic refused permission for him to take part. That leaves Aidy Boothroyd with a decision to make as to whether to throw young stopper Dean Snedker into the starting line-up or go with short term cover between the posts. There should be a host of new faces lining up for Town with David Artell, Joe Widdowson, Chris Hackett, Ishmel Demontagnac, Henoc Mukendi, Clive Platt and Alex Nicholls all pushing for official debuts.

Cardiff are without a full first team thanks to a host of international friendlies taking place this week with Craig Bellamy, Rob Earnshaw and Darcy Blake all set to play for Wales. Also away are Don Cowie and goalkeeper David Marshall (Scotland), Filip Kiss (Slovakia), Etien Velikonja (Slovenia) and Aron Gunnarsson (Iceland). They will also be without the injured pair of Rudy Gestede (knee) and Kadeem Harris (leg). City should, though, hand full debuts to new summer signings Jordan Mutch and Heidar Helguson.

City boss Malky McKay

Club Links…

Cardiff manager Malky MacKay was given his first break as a coach under the stewardship of Cobblers boss Aidy Boothroyd at Watford.

Last Six Meetings…

04/02/03: Cobblers 0-1 Cardiff (League One)

The last time the clubs met was in League One back in 2003 with Rob Earnshaw scoring the only goal of the game in his first spell with the club. City would go on to win the League One playoffs that season with the Cobblers suffering relegation back to the basement division.

Gabbiadini…wonder goal

17/08/02: Cardiff 1-2 Cobblers (League One)

Marco Gabbiadini’s wonder goal will live long in the memory of Cobblers fans after he fired Town in front at Ninian Park with a 35 yard belter. Cardiff captain Graham Kavanagh headed Cardiff level a few minutes later but Gabbiadini got the winner on the stroke of half-time with a toe poked effort.

02/03/02: Cobblers 1-2 Cardiff (League One)

Leyton Maxwell put Cardiff in front at Sixfields before Marco Gabbiadini equalised three minutes later. Andy Campbell capped a frantic few minutes by scoring what turned out to be the winner two minutes on and City held on for a big win.

18/09/01: Cardiff 2-0 Cobblers (League One)

A straight forward victory for Cardiff at Ninian Park as Graham Kavanagh scored in the first half before Paul Brayson netted with a spot kick with eighteen minutes to go.

07/12/09: Cobblers 1-0 Cardiff (Football League Trophy)

The Cobblers got the better of the Bluebirds in a well contested trophy match with Sean Parrish getting the only goal of the game with twenty minutes to go.

14/05/97: Cobblers 3-2 Cardiff (Division Three/League Two Playoff semi-final second leg)

A memorable night at Sixfields with the Cobblers building on a First Leg win at Ninian Park to seal a date at Wembley with Swansea City. Ian Sampson got the ball rolling before Jason Fowler put City right back in it. A tense period followed but Ray Warburton raised the roof with a second for Town on the night to make it 3-1 on aggregate mid-way through the second half and John Gayle made it certain ten minutes later. The Bluebirds got a late consolation through Simon Haworth but it was too late and the Cobblers were at Wembley, going on to beat Swansea and earn promotion.

The Man in the Middle…

Taking charge of the first Cobblers game of the season is David Phillips who started last season by refereeing a League Cup game (Southampton’s 4-1 win over Torquay) and who was in the middle for the Cobblers’ 0-0 home draw with Plymouth Argyle in March.

Prediction…

It’s unlikely that the Cobblers will be coming up against the absolute first choice Cardiff eleven but after last season’s exploits in this competition whoever is wearing the City shirt will want to have another shot and won’t hold anything back. Home advantage gives us an outside chance of progression and I’m going for the upset to kick off the 2012/13 season…1-0.

Cardiff kick off next season!

Today’s League Cup draw saw the Cobblers drawn out with last year’s finalists Cardiff City in the First Round with the game due to be the curtain raiser for next season. The Bluebirds were beaten on penalties in last season’s final and will provide a tough opener to the 2012/13 season having also reached the Championship playoffs in May.

There’s an age old history between the clubs with the famous playoff success in ’97 rolling through the old Ninian Park en route to a memorable Sixfields win and a Wembley final success. There have been no meetings between the clubs since both were in League One back in the 2002/03 season which saw both clubs win on each other’s grounds. The only other time we’ve met in the League Cup also came in the ’97 promotion season so hopefully there’s some sort of omen there!

I like the idea and am glad of a home draw this time around. With the game coming, unusually, before the league season starts it’s a chance for Aidy Boothroyd to put together the side he wants for the league opener a few days later and one in which his side will have no pressure on going into it. Cardiff are a top Championship outfit but maybe the inconvenience of travelling a long way on a Tuesday night before the season starts could have a negative effect on them.

All in all I welcome it…it may be treated as a glorified friendly match but it could have been a lot worse from some of the potential opposition that were on the list. Bring it on! And now for Monday’s league fixtures announcement…

First checkpoint of the summer!

It’s mid-June and as we sit through another temperamental British Summer of transfer news and rumours it’s good to get to a checkpoint. The first one of these comes in the form of the League Cup First Round draw which takes place tomorrow morning. The Cobblers, along with all teams from Leagues 1 and 2 and most of the Championship line-up for next season, will go into the hat and this season we find ourselves in the Southern Section part of the draw. The seeding system is back for the First Round so there’s a chance that we will pull out the likes of local rivals Peterborough United, MK Dons, Coventry or Leicester as well as potentially mixing it up with Birmingham, Cardiff or Wolves.

With nineteen possible opponents, it should be an interesting draw again given our record in the past two seasons. Below is the list of both North and South sand non seedings to give you an idea of who we could face!

North – Seeded

1. Barnsley
2. Blackpool
3. Burnley
4. Carlisle United
5. Derby County
6. Doncaster Rovers
7. Hartlepool United
8. Huddersfield Town
9. Hull City
10 .Leeds United
11. Middlesbrough
12. Nottingham Forest
13. Notts County
14. Sheffield United
15. Sheffield Wednesday
16. Tranmere Rovers

North – Unseeded

1. Accrington Stanley
2. Bradford City
3. Burton Albion
4. Bury
5. Chesterfield
6. Crewe Alexandra
7. Fleetwood Town
8. Morecambe
9. Oldham Athletic
10 .Port Vale
11. Preston North End
12. Rochdale
13. Rotherham United
14. Scunthorpe United
15. Shrewsbury Town
16. York City

South – Seeded

1. AFC Bournemouth
2. Birmingham City
3. Brentford
4. Brighton & Hove Albion
5. Bristol City
6. Cardiff City
7. Charlton Athletic
8. Colchester United
9. Coventry City
10 .Crystal Palace
11. Ipswich Town
12. Leicester City
13. Millwall
14. Milton Keynes Dons
15. Peterborough United
16. Portsmouth
17. Stevenage
18. Watford
19. Wolverhampton Wanderers

South – Unseeded

1. AFC Wimbledon
2. Aldershot Town
3. Barnet
4. Bristol Rovers
5. Cheltenham Town
6. Crawley Town
7. Dagenham & Redbridge
8. Exeter City
9. Gillingham
10 .Leyton Orient
11. Northampton Town
12. Oxford United
13. Plymouth Argyle
14. Southend United
15. Swindon Town
16. Torquay United
17. Walsall
18. Wycombe Wanderers
19. Yeovil Town