Football League Show missing again…

FBLS6

There’s been plenty of complaints again over the last few hours about the Football League Show not being shown on International weekends so I thought I would re-post the response I had last year when complaining about the very same thing – if anyone gets anything different or less formulaic then please let us know!

Here’s a response to my complaint of November 2013…

Dear Mr Brothers

Reference CAS-2405174-1D570M

Thank you for contacting us regarding, ‘The Football League Show’.

I understand you’d like coverage of Leagues One and Two to be broadcast while International games are being played.

Unfortunately it boils down to contractual obligations, to explain, this is simply a contractual issue in that the current broadcast contract with the Football League which began this season stipulates that the BBC only produces a Football League Show on Saturdays on which there is a Championship fixture list.

ITV provide coverage of the Champions League, nevertheless, I can assure you that I’ve registered your comments on our audience log.

This is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily for all programme makers and commissioning executives within the BBC, and also their senior management. It ensures that your points, and all other comments we receive, are made available across the BBC.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us.

Kind Regards

Patrick Clyde

BBC Complaints

Looking on the bright side

Boothroyd...plotting a promotion run-in

Boothroyd…plotting a promotion run-in

Scouring the Interweb forums, articles and endless predictions (including my own of course) I’ve realised that we all seem to have got into a state of panic over the last few days. I’ve fallen into the trap myself as third place in League Two slipped away from us last night. But should we really be this anxious?

With four games of the league season to go, Northampton Town are FOURTH in League Two. I believe many of us said at the start of the season that a playoff place would be a good return after the last couple of seasons of almost falling into the abyss of non-league football. We are four games away from the end of this roller coaster ride that has seen us claw our way into contention for not just that but a genuine chance at the top three.

Should Town overcome York City at Sixfields on Saturday and both Exeter and Chesterfield both lose, we will be guaranteed a playoff place with three games still to play. It would also set up the trip to Wycombe on Tuesday night in style and mean that even in the worst case scenario we would know that a win would definitely put us back into the automatic promotion places.

It’s certainly not going to be easy with York fighting for their lives and other teams coming to the fore but let’s try to embrace these moments and be thankful that this team have brought us to this point over the last few months. This is arguably the hardest part, to seal the deal, and we need to be fully behind our own team first and foremost rather than panicking about others.

If the Cobblers win four games of football then we’ll be a League One club. If not, then we can look at how we may get there with less. If it’s the playoffs, so be it. We may struggle against the likes of Rotherham United, Cheltenham Town, Bradford City or Burton Albion over two legs but then again what better carrot on a stick than a potential trip to Wembley being two games away?

And even if it all does go to pot, we are very likely indeed to be in the mix and have a shot, have a chance at promotion. That’s a huge credit to Aidy Boothroyd and his players. So enjoy the drama, enjoy the blood, sweat and tears that these four games are going to bring. It’s all a part of a journey that we thought would be a great achievement when we were making our predictions back in August.

Get right behind the team in the run-in. I’ll be screaming at my laptop from the other side of the world but will be back in time for the Barnet game – one where we should be celebrating an achievement of some kind. Let’s make it the best one possible!

A fond farewell to Ceefax

At around 11:30pm last night, a British institution was faded out into a small dot. Decades of history was brought to an end as the digital switch over was complete. For football supporters across the country it was all about reminiscence about a time where times were simple. Back in the nineties, Ceefax was the only way possible to pick up the football scores as they happened if you didn’t have a radio.

This was before the Internet boomed, before Jeff Stelling even thought about compiling stats for Morecambe, Boston United and Halifax Town’s last few months of fixtures and before we could set up a text service to our mobile phones to get an instant score line within seconds. Thinking back to that time seems pretty crazy now. I feel like I take for granted all the fantastic technology that we now hold dear for when we’re not at the match. To be able to stick with the news on the move makes every Saturday a time when we can feel involved from the start, meaning our spouses and families often get the brunt of faded communication for a couple of hours!

Twitter has made the match day experience even more interactive…following even one fellow supporter that’s going to the game gives you access to plenty of happenings from the moment a coach leaves through a pub stop and key moments in the game whilst also following fans from other teams gives insight into matches from across the country.

It’s mind boggling thinking about it and how I used to rely solely on Ceefax as a wee nipper. I used to go around a friends’ house every Saturday of an away game that we weren’t old enough to go to simply to watch the rolling ticker on Ceefax with a can of coke and some Wham Bars for company. We were happy and in our element. It was also pretty dramatic, if dull on a day of a goalless draw!

When not at a TV screen at home there was always a chance provided by Curry’s (other electronic outlets are available!) on a trip into town. They always seemed to have at least two screens on display televisions in the windows devoted to Ceefax football scores, meaning that groups of football fans would end up meeting outside the shop window, waiting patiently but anxiously at around 4:50pm on a Saturday for ‘page 2/3’ to load up and confirm a big win or to confirm an inevitable defeat.

Even when I was at university, when technology had moved on, I relied on it. Constantly disrupting housemates’ viewings of Eastenders to flick on the scores page was a staple for Tuesday nights. As the matches progressed you would have to wait longer and longer with scorers being added to push your teams’ results onto a new page. In tight games there was so much tension as clocks ticked down. When your result still didn’t have a ‘FT’ next to it by 5pm you had no idea why, when games kicked off late, likewise. In seasons where you’re pushing for promotion or battling relegation (most of the time for the Cobblers!) it was even more agonising.

It was a time of pure drama in your front room. When I try to explain to my wife the joys of ‘Soccer Saturday’ these days I often wonder what on earth she would have made of just the scores rotating on the TV via Ceefax in its glory days.

So it was with some sadness that it all came to an end last night. Admittedly I haven’t used the service for football scores for a few years now but it’s still a sad sight to not have it as an option now and again. I had to have a quick look last night and say a farewell even though I knew everything that had happened during the game (not much!) thanks to the radio commentary, tweets, interviews, comments on message boards and reports.

Life may not ever be as simple as what Ceefax provided for football fans but we can at least remember ‘the good old days’ like the old men we now are!

Bristol Rovers v Northampton Town: Match Preview

Bristol Rovers v Northampton Town

League Two

Saturday, October 6th 2012

Following a disappointing defeat on Tuesday night the Cobblers are on the road tomorrow afternoon with a trip to Mark McGee’s struggling Bristol Rovers side. With injuries piling up for Town following that game there’s a need for new blood so hopefully there will be some news on that front before this game kicks off at the Memorial Stadium.

Poor start extended after Rubies defeat…

Rovers are still looking for their first home win of the season after Wednesday night’s 1-0 reverse against Cheltenham Town at the Memorial Stadium. The defeat was made worse by the fact that former Gas head Chris Zebroski netted the winner for the Rubies in the first half. They had, however, beaten Exeter on the road just a few days previous so there are at least some signs that a shocking start may be starting to turn.

Riordan looking to resurrect career…

Former Hibernian striker Derek Riordan signed for Rovers last week and made his first two appearances against Exeter and Cheltenham. Riordan has signed on a three month deal having ended a spell in Chinese football on a deal until Christmas. He is due to stand trial in Edinburgh next month after allegedly making anti-gay comments to pub staff during an altercation in Scotland but new boss Mark McGee has handed him a fresh start with Rovers.

 

Higgs…began career with Rovers

Club Links…

Cobblers keeper Shane Higgs started his career with Bristol Rovers but only made ten first team appearances.

Rovers loan keeper Sam Walker was with the Cobblers last season, playing twenty one times under Gary Johnson before following Johnson to Yeovil on loan. He signed on loan at the Memorial Stadium this season and has played three times so far.

 

Team News…

The hosts will welcome back centre back Tom Parkes from suspension and he looks set to go straight back into the starting line up alongside Gary Kenneth.

The Cobblers are without Luke Guttridge and John Johnson who picked up long term injuries during the midweek defeat to Gillingham while Ben Harding is also missing for the next month.

 

Previous Six meetings…

06/03/12: Cobblers 3-2 Bristol Rovers (League Two)

A massive win for the Cobblers towards League Two survival last season. Bayo Akinfenwa scored twice in the opening ten minutes before Kelvin Langmead put us three up before half time. Craig Stanley and Lee Brown, from the spot, made it a nervy finish but Town held on for three valuable points.

16/08/11: Bristol Rovers 2-1 Cobblers (League Two)

The Cobblers suffered their first defeat of last season at the Memorial Stadium as Jo Kuffour and Matt Harrold scored either side of a Bayo Akinfenwa strike to earn Rovers all the points at the Memorial Stadium.

10/04/09: Bristol Rovers 1-0 Cobblers (League One)

A Good Friday meeting between the clubs was settled by Jo Kuffour’s goal with twenty minutes to play in a season that would eventually see the Cobblers relegated from League One.

28/12/08: Cobblers 0-0 Bristol Rovers (League One)

Tame stalemate just after Christmas in 2008, part of a sequence that saw the Cobblers win just once in eight games at the end of the calendar year.

12/03/08: Bristol Rovers 1-1 Cobblers (League One)

Sean Rigg put the hosts in front on the stroke of half-time but ten minutes after the break Danish striker Poul Hubertz equalised. An unlikely tilt at the playoffs would follow for Town but in the end we had to settle for a respectable ninth place in League One under Stuart Gray.

06/11/07: Cobblers 0-1 Bristol Rovers (League One)

The Cobblers had lost by a single goal against Southend just a couple of days before this one and it was another narrow defeat at Sixfields against the Gas with Rickie Lambert powering in the winner with twenty minutes to go.

 

The Man in the Middle…

The official for this one is Mark Brown, who was at Preston last weekend as North End beat Yeovil 3-2 in a game that saw Brown send off Yeovil’s Ed Upson. The last time that he was involved in a Cobblers game was in the 2-1 home win over Oxford towards the end of last season with the referee sending off Oxford’s Michael Duberry late on.

 

Prediction…

I’ll be in attendance at the Memorial Stadium so hopefully we can get back on track after Tuesday night’s defeat against Gillingham. I think we can nick this one so will go for a 2-1 win that eluded me in Tuesday’s prediction!

Calm steps forward as Town claim Spotland point

Rochdale 0-0 Northampton Town

League Two

Saturday, 18th August 2012

And so to another league opener. The official opening day of the season after Tuesday night’s cup upset against Cardiff City brought about a solid point against a side expected to be among the challengers for at least a playoff place. That, couple with a clean sheet and a dogged performance, means that we come away much more satisfied then we have done in the last few years following first league outings.

It was the fourth consecutive season in which the Cobblers had failed to score on the opening day and the third big kick off in those four seasons that have ended with a blank score sheet. But this would arguably be considered the most pleasing in terms of both result and overall outlook following the game. The fact that we came away from Spotland, a difficult place to go for most League Two sides this season, having got off the mark in the league and also held firm at the back means that the first week of 2012/13 can be called a success ahead of Tuesday night’s visit from title favourites Rotherham United.

It won’t go in the ‘classics’ folder for either side but both should come out feeling pretty good about the road ahead. ‘Dale shaded it in terms of chances with a post struck in the first half by home striker Ashley Grimes in their best effort of the game. Lee Nicholls, coming in for young Dean Snedker in goal for his full debut, did well to keep out the other Rochdale forward Dele Adebola, before Town started to build their own attacking prowess.

The big chance of the game fell to Alex Nicholls who was looking to add to Tuesday’s match winner but his header was off target this time.

So that was about that as the final twenty minutes produced no onslaught or real chances with both sides happy to start the season with a point. Dale will continue their tricky start with trips to Chesterfield and Torquay in the coming seven days with the Cobblers hosting Rotherham and Southend United.

All in all, it was just great to see the Tweets, messages of support, photos and general excitement building up to 3 o’clock today as football fever kicked in for good. The dry run of the League Cup was exciting but you can’t beat the 3-5pm period of a Saturday afternoon with scores rolling in and stories being written all across the country.

For the Cobblers, this early chapter of 2012/13: The Novel will go down as a promising start. When I look back on this in a year’s time I hope I’m reliving the start of something positive.

Happy Football Season to you all!

Rochdale v Northampton Town: Match Preview

Rochdale v Northampton Town

League Two

Saturday, August 18th 2012

After the delightful opening to the 2012/13 season on Tuesday night that saw Cardiff City disposed of in the Capital One Cup, it’s down to the graft of league action as the Cobblers’ League Two campaign gets underway on Saturday with a trip to recently relegated Rochdale. The ‘Dale will be looking for a flying start back in the division that they made their home for many, many years and will provide Town with one of the toughest starts possible.

Promotion Party memories…

Our hosts this weekend will have fond memories of the last meeting between the clubs as they were promoted from League Two after a 1-0 victory over the Cobblers on April 17th 2010. That win helped them to third place in the final standings and ended a run of thirty six straight seasons in League Two.

A summer of change…

There’s been a bit of an upheaval at Spotland over the summer with thirteen new faces arriving including veteran striker Dele Adebola who joined from Hull City to fill the gap left by Reece Gray who suffered a horrific injury during a behind closed doors friendly with Liverpool recently and who is likely to be out until at least the New Year. Former Tranmere and Carlisle striker Craig Curran and goalkeeper Ben Smith are the latest recruits and were both on the bench for last weekend’s season opener in the League Cup.

Cup Epic at Spotland…

Dale have already been a part of a classic cup tie at Spotland having been edged out by Championship side Barnsley last weekend in a seven goal thriller that went all the way to extra time. Andrew Tutte put them in front before the Tykes turned it around thanks to goals from John Stones and Craig Davies. But, after a red card for Barnsley keeper Ben Alnwick, Jason Kennedy converted a penalty to take the game to extra time. In a frantic scrap of the extra half an hour, Chris Dagnall scored twice for the visitors and, despite another Kennedy spot kick, helped them to an eventual 4-3 victory.

Widdowson…Spotland return

Quick return for Joe…

New Cobblers signing Joe Widdowson makes a swift return to Spotland on Saturday having played over fifty times for Rochdale over the last couple of seasons. Widdowson joined on a free transfer having turned down new terms with ‘Dale at the end of last season and made a confident debut for Town on Tuesday night against Cardiff.

Team News…

Rochdale are definitely without Reece Gray with the striker ruled out for months with the aforementioned injury whilst midfielder Luke Watson is also out after suffering a knee injury in training following a collision with goalkeeping coach Bernie Hirmir.

The only Cobblers change from Tuesday night should see Dean Snedker return to the bench to allow Lee Nicholls to make his full debut. Nicholls was ruled out of that one because parent club Wigan Athletic wouldn’t allow him permission to take part.

Club Links…

As mentioned, Joe Widdowson has spent the last two seasons at Rochdale, both of which has seen them playing League One football.

Fellow new signing Clive Platt also had a successful run at Rochdale early in his career, playing over a hundred and fifty games for the club and scoring thirty times in a four year stint.

Last Six Meetings…

17/04/10: Rochdale 1-0 Cobblers (League Two)

Chris O’Grady’s twenty second minute strike was enough to send ‘Dale into League One with the single goal coupled with a tense second half confirming their promotion.

19/09/09: Cobblers 1-2 Rochdale (League Two)

Earlier that season, the Cobblers had slipped to a 2-1 home defeat with O’Grady scoring in the opening twenty minutes. Ryan Gilligan levelled for Town but Will Buckley scored with a stunner of a goal just a few minutes later to send his side home with all three points.

08/04/06: Cobblers 2-2 Rochdale (League Two)

Josh Low put Town in front at Sixfields and Scott McGleish looked to have given us another stepping stone towards promotion but a second half double from Rickie Lambert, including a last minute penalty, pulled it back for the draw.

02/01/06: Rochdale 1-1 Cobblers (League Two)

Pedj Bojic looked to have given the Cobblers a big win with the first goal of the game early in the second half but a Josh Low own goal meant that we came home from Spotland with just the one point.

08/03/05: Rochdale 1-0 Cobblers (League Two)

Prolific striker Rickie Lambert was again a thorn in the Cobblers’ side as he scored the only goal of the game in March 2008 with Town going on to lose out in the playoffs at the end of that season.

23/10/04: Cobblers 5-1 Rochdale (League Two)

A storming with for the Cobblers with former Town defender Daryl Burgess having a day to forget as he scored an early own goal to put us in front before seeing red ten minutes later. Martin Smith scored twice before the break before another own goal, this time from Neil Edwards, made it 4-0 mid-way through the second half. Gareth Griffiths got a consolation for ‘Dale but Josh Low wrapped things up in stoppage time.

The Man in the Middle…

The man in charge of the Cobblers’ first league game of the season is Tony Harrington who is in his first season in the Football League having worked mainly in the Blue Square Premier League last season.

Prediction…

It’s a really tricky opener for the Cobblers and I would be happy to pick up a point from this one. After Tuesday night’s cup exploits for both teams there’s goals in it so I’m going for a 2-2 draw.

League Two Relegation Battle: The Run Ins…

It’s that time of year when graphics appear across Sky Sports News, Match of The Day and newspapers analysing the run-ins for the key battles of promotion, playoffs and relegation issues so I thought I would throw in a look at the League Two basement battle for good measure. The Cobblers are by no means out of it…I will be including teams from ourselves in 18th down to the bottom of the table. I would have included Burton but their mid-week victory has them ten points clear now and that should be enough.

Here goes then!

Northampton Town

The Cobblers have a game in hand on most teams below but face five away games in the last eight, starting at playoff chasing Crewe on Saturday. An Oxford-Swindon double over Easter looks daunting the say the least so the home clash with Bradford and trip to Hereford could well decide a part of our fate…

Fixtures: Crewe (a), Oxford (H), Swindon (a), Bradford (H), Crawley (a), Hereford (a), Gillingham (H), Rotherham (a)

Bradford City

One place and one point below Town are Bradford City and they go into a huge six pointer at Plymouth this weekend before facing one of the tougher run-ins of all the teams in trouble. Games against promotion chasing Southend, Shrewsbury, Cheltenham and Swindon as well as that trip to Sixfields make it a nervy ending for the Bantams…

Fixtures: Plymouth (a), Southend (H), Shrewsbury (a), Northampton (a), Macclesfield (H), Cheltenham (a), Swindon (H)

Barnet

Home form will be crucial for Barnet as they look to keep their heads above water. The Bees are currently three points clear of the bottom two but have a tough Easter week that takes in a Tuesday night visit from Swindon, a Good Friday trip to Cheltenham and a Holiday Monday clash with Crawley. They also face a massive home game with Hereford on Friday 13th April…

Fixtures: Torquay (H), Swindon (H), Cheltenham (a), Crawley (H), Hereford (H), Southend (a), AFC Wimbledon (H), Burton Albion (a)

Dagenham and Redbridge

John Still’s men have clawed their way out of the bottom two in recent weeks and their destiny is in their own hands and they look to avoid a second successive relegation. The Daggers’ run in doesn’t look as bad as it could be and they will be quietly confident of survival…

Fixtures: Port Vale (a), Burton Albion (H), Gillingham (a), Aldershot (a), Crawley (H), Shrewsbury (a), Bristol Rovers (H)

Plymouth Argyle

The Plymouth board have decided that they will review manager Carl Fletcher’s position at the end of the season and survival would be a massive tick on his name should he help the Pilgrims to overcome the tense finale. They have a big couple of weeks coming up with the home game with Bradford coming up on Saturday before a trip to Hereford on Good Friday and a Home Park visit of Aldershot on Holiday Monday…

Fixtures: Bradford (H), Hereford (a), Aldershot (H), Swindon (a), Oxford (H), Morecambe (a), Cheltenham (H)

Macclesfield Town

Macclesfield are fifteen games without a win and have sunk into the bottom two so they face a mammoth task to pick up the pieces and get out of the downward spiral they find themselves in. The Silkmen have four games out of seven away from home and it’s a pretty tough looking run of fixtures for an out of form side…

Fixtures: Gillingham (a), Shrewsbury (H), Port Vale (a), Crewe (H), Bradford (a), Burton (H), Southend (a)

Hereford United

Rock bottom of the table are Hereford and their fate could be held in the three games against fellow strugglers in Plymouth, Barnet and the Cobblers because the final two games of the season see them come up against two of the current top three in Crawley and Torquay…

Fixtures: Rotherham (a), Plymouth (H), Accrington (a), Barnet (a), Northampton (H), Crawley (a), Torquay (H)

In conclusion…

So who goes down? I’m absolutely shocking at predictions, as highlighted by my predicted league table that I came up with at the start of the campaign so should probably keep quiet but I’ll stick my neck out and say that Hereford and Macclesfield will be the ones to eventually fall through the trap door. It’s likely to change a lot in the next few weeks but momentum is key at this stage and with some tough fixtures coming up for both I’m going for the current inhabitants of the bottom two to still be there come May 5th.

Accrington Stanley v Northampton Town: Match Preview

As things begin to look more and more positive, the Cobblers go into a clash with Accrington Stanley in the rare position for this season of being in better form than the opposition. The high still being felt from Tuesday night’s morale boosting win at Dagenham and Redbridge will hopefully be hanging around the squad as we head north for the next part of Operation Survival.

Aidy Boothroyd won’t be letting anyone rest on their laurels ahead of this one and we need to put to bed some dreadful memories of the trip to the Crown Ground last season where three goals before half-time killed the Cobblers off before we’d had a chance to get going. The Boothroyd squad is a lot healthier than the Johnson squad of those times though and if we can pick up something here then momentum will still be with us for the final furlong of the season.

Form…

Accrington are on a poor run of form and sit second bottom of the League Two form table having picked up just three points from a possible eighteen available. Those three points have come in the last three games though and include good draws against Port Vale and, last weekend, away at high flying Southend United where Padraig Amond netted a stoppage time equaliser despite his side being reduced to ten men earlier in the game.

The Cobblers have won three on the bounce having beaten Bristol Rovers and Aldershot Town at home before taking all three points from Dagenham on Tuesday night.

Team News…

Accrington boss Paul Cook has completed the emergency loan signing of Scunthorpe’s Bobby Grant this week with the striker, who began his career with Stanley and made over fifty appearances for the club, agreeing an initial one month spell back at the Crown Ground. He goes straight into the squad for tomorrow’s game. But Michael Liddle, having been sent off in last weekend’s draw with Southend United, misses out through suspension.

The Cobblers’ only squad change could see new signing Anthony Charles given a place in the side after completing a deal, which keeps him at Sixfields until the end of the season, this week.

Previous Six Meetings…

06/08/11: Cobblers 0-0 Accrington

The opening day of the season saw the Cobblers, under the stewardship of Gary Johnson, held to a competitive goalless draw by Stanley at Sixfields.

02/04/11: Accrington 3-1 Cobblers

Town slipped to a worrying defeat as a first half blitz sent us closer to the relegation zone. Ian Craney struck twice in the opening half an hour before Sean McConville made it three before the break. A Michael Jacobs consolation mid-way through the second half was nowhere near enough and Stanley continued their march towards the playoffs.

14/08/10: Cobblers 0-0 Accrington

The sides met in the first league game at Sixfields last season as well with a stale mate and a frustrating afternoon for the home support following a promising win over Brighton in the Carling Cup the previous Tuesday.

09/02/10: Cobblers 4-0 Accrington

An important victory for the Cobblers, who at that point were on the way up the table in search of a late playoff surge. Bayo Akinfenwa gave us the lead and a second half brace from Billy McKay combined with a Luke Guttridge strike sealed a comfortable afternoon.

18/08/09: Accrington 0-3 Cobblers

A big win to kick start the 2009/10 season and to prolong Stuart Gray’s reign at the club. Steve Guinan netted his first for the Cobblers early on and Bayo slotted in a penalty fifteen minutes later. Billy McKay would score the first of three goals against Stanley that season to round off the victory.

25/04/61: Cobblers 2-1 Accrington

En route from promotion from Division Four, the Cobblers picked up a crucial win at the County Ground and ended up finishing in third place behind Peterborough United and Crystal Palace.

The Man In The Middle…

Michael Naylor is in charge on Saturday having previously refereed the Cobblers’ 2-1 cup upset at Ipswich Town earlier this season and Accrington’s 1-1 draw at Macclesfield in November. Naylor was officiating the 2-2 draw between Torquay and Bristol Rovers last weekend.

Prediction…

There’s renewed confidence in the Cobblers ranks these days and although it’s a tough looking trip on paper there’s no reason why we can’t extend the good run with a point here. 1-1

Dagenham and Redbridge v Northampton Town: Match Preview

The time has come for one of the biggest matches of the season with a month’s delay for the fixture only adding to the anticipation for a trip that won’t make or break the season but will have plenty of implications for the coming weeks and the relegation battle. Had we played the game at the scheduled time, we would have been looking up at the Daggers, and indeed the rest of League Two, but thanks to a resurgence of form the clubs have instead swapped places over the past month and it’s the hosts who prop up the rest and the Cobblers needing the win to put ground between us.

All’s set for a tense night with the conclusion sure to have major impact at the bottom of the Football League.

Form…

Dagenham have fallen to a couple of away defeats in the last week, falling 4-0 at league leaders Swindon before Saturday’s 2-1 reverse at AFC Wimbledon. Before that though, they were in decent form and had picked up seven points from a possible nine.

The Cobblers have collected thirteen points from the last eighteen available including back to back home wins this week. Aidy Boothroyd’s men have lost only one of their four away games in 2012, that being the 1-0 defeat at Torquay.

Team News…

The Daggers snapped up Bournemouth’s Mathieu Baudry on loan this week and the Frenchman could make his debut. John Still is meanwhile waiting on the fitness of defensive duo Scott Doe and Mark Arber with both doubts for the game. Matthew Saunders will definitely miss out as he waits on the results of an ankle scan while Sam Williams, Kevin Maher and Peter Gain are also out.

Aidy Boothroyd will be pondering the inclusion of Toni Silva after the enigmatic winger put in a solid performance on his recall to the side on Saturday afternoon. Michael Jacobs and Bayo Akinfenwa were the only concerns for that one but both came through ok and should start again. Anthony Charles might be included in the squad after completing his short term move to Sixfields on Tuesday.

Club Links…

Dagenham signed former Cobblers loanee Josh Parker on a loan deal last week. Parker, now signed up by Oldham Athletic, played three times for Town in 2010.

Injured Cobblers defender Nana has previously spent time on loan at Dagenham and scored twice in an eight game spell at Victoria Park in the 2009-10 season.

Previous Meetings…

24/09/11: Cobblers 2-1 Dagenham and Redbridge

Arron Davies returned from injury to smash the Cobblers in front in the reverse fixture at Sixfields from earlier this season before Bayo headed in for 2-0 the other side of half-time. Dagenham pulled one back through Oliver Lee but we held on for a first home win of the season.

06/02/10: Dagenham and Redbridge 0-1 Cobblers

John Johnson’s goal turned out to be the winner in February 2010 in the Cobblers’ first competitive game at Victoria Road.

26/12/09: Cobblers 1-0 Dagenham and Redbridge

The first ever meeting between the two sides took place at Sixfields on Boxing Day 2009 with the Cobblers coming out on top by a single goal, scored by Billy McKay with just two minutes to go.

The Man In The Middle…

The man in charge on Tuesday night will be Paul Tierney, who has been officiating Championship and League One games in the past couple of weeks. You might remember him for sending John Johnson off at Oxford last season or for showing red to two Stevenage players on the day that we secured our Football League status at the end of last season.

Prediction…

It’s a massive contest and one that I’d like to see us go all out and attack but I can see it being quite cagey and based on the last couple of results wouldn’t be completely disappointed with a point. I’ll go for 1-1.

Northampton Town v Aldershot Town: Match Preview

When Ashley Westwood steered in the only goal of the game down at Aldershot in August there wasn’t a concern in the world. It was a second win in a week following an impressive Carling Cup victory at Ipswich and sustained a mini unbeaten run that kicked off this season. So who could possibly have predicted where we would end up come the next meeting that takes place tomorrow afternoon?!

Westwood is now in charge of troubled neighbours Kettering Town, Gary Johnson has thankfully departed after that glimmer of a decent start to his season and the Cobblers are slowly having to pick up the pieces. Aidy Boothroyd finally has a first eleven that is mainly his own now though and, whisper it quietly, has started to help us turn the corner in the tightest of relegation battles.

Aldershot had a funny old season in the mid-table cluster that we would so love to call our own. A dreadful Christmas and New Year run without scoring for six games has the Shots looking over their own shoulders but suddenly they hit back with six wins on the bounce – a run that was ended by the narrowest of margins at Torquay United on Tuesday night. Dean Holdsworth’s men are still only nine points from the playoff places though and may have one eye on a late assault on the end of season lottery. That makes this one another tough game for the Cobblers and for Aidy Boothroyd’s attempt at the Great Escape…

Form…

The Cobblers have now taken ten points from a possible fifteen since the start of February and have moved off the bottom of League Two thanks to a 3-2 home win over Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night. After letting slip a two goal lead at Cheltenham last weekend, it so nearly happened again but thankfully a three goal cushion was just enough to earn a huge three points.

Aldershot were on a fine run of six wins in a row until Tuesday when they were edged out by Torquay but will take their place in the top ten this afternoon when Port Vale are docked ten points for entering administration.

Team News…

Both Bayo Akinfenwa and Michael Jacobs look to have shaken off knocks picked up on Tuesday night so it once again looks like Boothroyd can name an unchanged side – something that’s got to help the continuity of a team growing in confidence by the week. Meanwhile, the Cobblers boss is set to play Luke Guttridge despite the midfielder holding a reported ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with Shots boss Dean Holdsworth that he would not face them again this season on departing the EBB Stadium in January. Boothroyd says that he will fine the player if he refuses to play so there could be some tension  in the dug outs tomorrow, particularly if Guttridge plays and scores!

Aldershot have extended the loan spell of Hull City defender Sonny Bradley into a third month so he will be available for selection once more. But keeper Ross Worner has been ruled out for the season with a back injury.

Club Links…

Cobblers forward Jake Robinson spent two periods of his career on loan at Aldershot, in the 2004-05 season and again in 2009, scoring eight times in the two spells.

Luke Guttridge signed for Town from Aldershot back in January after a year and a half with the club whom he joined from the Cobblers in 2010.

Fellow midfielder Ben Harding played 143 times for the Shots between 2007 and 2011. He would sign for Wycombe in 2011 but limited chances there saw him sign for the Cobblers early this year.

Previous Six Meetings…

13/08/11: Aldershot 0-1 Cobblers

In the first away day of this season, the Cobblers came away with the win thanks to an early Ashley Westwood goal.

19/02/11: Cobblers 1-1 Aldershot

This was the fourth in the Cobblers’ six game drawing sequence last season with Ben Tozer opening the scoring early on. Peter Vincenti would earn a point for the Shots before Shaun Harrad was sent off with eight minutes to play.

04/09/10: Aldershot 1-1 Cobblers

An injury time leveller from Ben Harding breaks down the Cobblers after Billy McKay’s neatly taken goal in the first half looked to have given us all three points.

12/02/10: Cobblers 0-3 Aldershot

In one of his first appearances for the club, Kevin Thornton is sent off after just eleven minutes. From the resulting free kick, Marvin Morgan put the visitors in front and would go on to claim a second after Kirk Hudson had extended their lead in the second half.

24/11/09: Aldershot 2-1 Cobblers

Luke Guttridge, now an Aldershot player, puts the Cobblers into the lead on a cold Tuesday night at the EBB Stadium. But a real collapse late on sees the hosts completely turn it around thanks to a Scott Donnelly penalty and a Marvin Morgan winner in the last minute of the game.

26/01/91: Cobblers 2-1 Aldershot

En route to a tenth place finish in Division Four that year, the Shots were beaten at the County Ground and only survived relegation because of the expansion in the Football League that season meaning that their finishing place of second bottom of the table didn’t lead to them dropping out of the league.

The Man In The Middle…

The man in charge at Sixfields will be Andy Haines. The last five games he has officiated have all ended 1-1 with his last game in charge of the Cobblers coming in a 1-0 defeat at Rochdale that earned the Spotland club promotion in 2010.

Prediction…

Things are starting to look up again and that always concerns me when it comes to predictions! I’d like to be able to sit on the fence but I’ll give it the old kiss of death and go for a 2-1 home win!