Gills defeat brings more than just loss of points

Johnson…joins Guttridge on the injured list

Defeat at home to Gillingham on Tuesday night included not only a hit on our chances of re-entering the race for an early position in the top seven of League Two but also, more long term, on two key members of the playing staff.

Gillingham, whilst not completely overpowering the Cobblers, left with a pretty deserved victory with Bayo Akinfenwa’s third goal of the season late on not enough to start an unlikely fight back against his former side. As frustrating as it was to lose out on the chance to jump back into the top half of the table, perhaps more worrying were the injuries sustained by Luke Guttridge and John Johnson.

Guttridge was withdrawn early on and it was today revealed that he has a broken metatarsal, an injury that will keep him out for at least three months. Johnson, meanwhile, will be missing for something in the region of four to six weeks with a knee injury, emphasising the timeliness of Danny East’s loan extension that keeps him at Sixfields until January.

The big problem is Guttridge’s though, particularly with Ben Harding also missing for the next month from the centre of midfield. Ben Tozer will need to step up to the plate in the coming weeks and really take hold of that position whilst a new loan is an absolute must ahead of this weekend’s trip to Bristol Rovers.

Chris Hackett filled in on Tuesday night for the majority of the game but his ore natural width is needed on the right hand side. Aidy Boothroyd has said that he expects a new face to be arriving within the next couple of days following the diagnosis of Guttridge and hopefully he has something up his sleeve to take us through the next couple of months.

With that small squad we can be relieved that most of our loans have been put to good use, possibly with the exception of Henoc Mukendi who we haven’t seen the best of just yet. There’s a small amount of room, at least, for a bit of manoeuvring in the loan market and we should be able to trust Aidy enough to bring in the right character based on his previous dips into that particular area of transfer dealings.

Here’s to a speedy recovery to all!

Northampton Town v Gillingham: Match Preview

Northampton Town v Gillingham

League Two

Tuesday, October 2nd 2012

After suffering their first league defeat of the season at home to Rochdale on Saturday, Gillingham bring their 100% away record to Sixfields this evening looking to get back on track in their bid to remain as the front runners in League Two.

The Cobblers are coming into the game on the back of two very different draws, 0-0 against Chesterfield at home and 3-3 at Burton on Saturday afternoon – a match that saw Town recover from 2-0 and 3-2 down to nick a point. It’s set to be a lively and entertaining evening in the latest Tuesday night encounter for Aidy Boothroyd to face.

Tuesday night successes for Town boss…

Boothroyd has won nine out of ten Tuesday night games since becoming Town boss in December of last year, the latest of which was at Dagenham and Redbridge a couple of weeks ago as Bayo Akinfenwa scored the winner.

Gills defending perfect record on the road…

Tonight’s visitors have won all four of their away league fixtures so far, coming away victorious from Wycombe, Dagenham, Barnet and Port Vale en route to their current position sitting pretty on top of the League Two table. The Gills have also won at Bristol City in the First Round of the League Cup before being put out by Middlesbrough at home in the second.

Allen in the hot seat…

After spending the last few years fire fighting at Barnet at taking charge at Notts County, Martin Allen was named the new Gillingham manager in early July. Allen has made an immediate impact in moulding his new squad together to take them to seven wins from nine games so far this season.

Kedwell leading the way…

Former Wimbledon man Danny Kedwell has made a storming start to the campaign, scoring eight league goals to top the Gill’s leading scorer charts. His strike against Rochdale at the weekend was his twentieth in Gillingham colours since signing in 2011.

 

Bayo – set to face former club

Club Links…

Bayo Akinfenwa has played for both clubs having split his two spells at Sixfields with a year at Gillingham in the 2010/11 season. Bayo scored eleven times for the Gills in forty four appearances.

In a similar pattern, Danny Jackman left Gillingham for the Cobblers back in 2007, spending two years with Town before returning to the Priestfield Stadium in acrimonious circumstances in August 2009.

 

Team News…

The Cobblers welcome back Clive Platt after the striker recovered from his recent injury. Platt is set to start from the bench this evening along with Shane Higgs who made a welcome return to the squad on Saturday. Lewis Wilson was also missing with a dead leg for the trip to Burton but he’s another that will be back in the reckoning. Ben Harding is out for a month but his replacement, West Brom loanee Kemar Roofe played his way into a potential starting place by helping to turn the game around at Burton.

Gillingham’s ex-Cobbler Danny Jackman, along with Bradley Dack, will miss the trip to Sixfields through suspension. Charlie Lee is a doubt with a leg injury but he faces a late fitness test but Jack Payne is back in with a chance of featuring after returning to training.

 

Previous Six meetings…

28/04/12: Cobblers 1-1 Gillingham (League Two)

In the last home game of last season, young striker Lewis Wilson marked his first team debut with the opening goal of the game but Gillingham earned a point just after the break through Jo Kuffour’s strike.

05/11/11: Gillingham 4-3 Cobblers (League Two)

A memorable match at the Priestfield saw Jo Kuffour net a first half hat-trick for the home side to give them a seemingly insurmountable lead despite Saido Berahino scoring in between times for the Cobblers. A superb fight back from Town pulled things back to 3-3 with Kelvin Langmead and Berahino again hitting back before Bayo Akinfenwa missed a golden chance to put us in front. But it was the home side who took the glory in stoppage time when Danny Kedwell slotted in a penalty after Frank Nouble was brought down by Langmead to crush the Cobblers.

15/01/11: Gillingham 1-0 Cobblers (League Two)

Cody McDonald scored the only goal in an otherwise forgettable game back in January 2011 at The Priestfield.

30/10/10: Cobblers 2-1 Gillingham (League Two)

Chris Palmer gave Gillingham an early lead in the last Sixfields meeting between the two sides but Dean Beckwith levelled things before Leon McKenzie’s penalty sealed a good home win for the Cobblers.

16/02/08: Cobblers 4-0 Gillingham (League One)

Back when both sides were in League One, the Cobblers completed a league double over the Gills with a hammering thanks to a first half double from Jason Crowe and Bayo Akinfenwa and a second half which saw Bayo net again and Giles Coke complete the scoring.

19/01/08: Gillingham 0-1 Cobblers (League One)

A month before the Sixfields win, Town came home from the Priestfield with an important single goal victory after Daniel Jones’ third minute free kick turns out to be the only goal.

 

The Man in the Middle…

Simon Hooper is the man in the middle for the Gills’ visit. Hooper sent off the Cobblers’ Nick McKoy during the 2-2 draw at Southend last season and also oversaw our 1-0 win at Dagenham and Redbridge back in 2010.

 

Prediction…

It’s another big examination of the Cobblers this evening with a game against a high flying Gills side who will be looking to bounce back straight away after their first defeat of the league season at the weekend. I’m going to be confident though and predict another good Tuesday night for Aidy Boothroyd with a return to winning ways and a 2-1 win.

Cobblers in the spotlight on Day 4 of Previews!

The Cobblers are one of the four sides in today’s League Two Season Previews and are joined by Gillingham, Morecambe and Oxford United as we head into the second half of the series ahead of the big kick off!

Here are the links for today:

Gillingham

Morecambe

Northampton Town

Oxford United

For links to all of the previews so far, click here!

Wilson grabs the headlines as home campaign ends in draw

Northampton Town 1-1 Gillingham

When it gets to the stage of the season when there’s nothing to play for and not a lot is at stake you start to look at stories that you can pick out of games, especially when you run a small blog chronicling those events. On this occasion it wouldn’t be an Andy Holt swan song stealing the show as an injury kept the departing future Cobblers legend to simple 50/50 results puller. It wouldn’t be a repeat of November’s 4-3 epic at the Priestfield. And it wouldn’t be a story of Gillingham putting their names right back in the hunt for the top seven.

Instead, nineteen year old Lewis Wilson was the talking point on most people’s lips in terms of the Cobblers’ performance as his goal helped to keep the Gills’ dreams of the playoffs locked away for another season. Wilson’s goal won’t end up in a show reel of his best ever goals when he’s sat with his grandkids showing them his old ways but it will still be one of the more memorable as he stabbed in to give the Cobblers the lead on his full debut for the club.

Of course we shouldn’t get too excited (do we ever?!) about another young prospect. The name Courtney Herbert comes immediately to mind when you think of past masters of getting the claret faithful excited that we have a future star and thus a future money maker in our midst. We can only hope that Wilson goes the way of Michael Jacobs and not of Herbert. Jacobs could well have made his final ever Sixfields appearance in a Town shirt in this one and we now await the results of his contract negotiations. My hunch is that he’s off, with a bid rejected early last week from Derby and the presence of Peterborough’s Barry Fry looming in the West Stand on Saturday.

With others set to be informed on their futures this week (Paul Turnbull and Aaron Davies, I’m looking at you) we should hopefully have an idea by the end of the Rotherham game – the last of the season – as to who’s in and who’s out.

A strange mess of a goal that was apparently given to Jo Kuffour meant that this group of players that were trying to impress had to settle for a point but given the shambles we were in the last time we met we’ll have that!

The final whistle was followed by the ‘traditional’ pitch invasion from the home support. That just makes me feel uncomfortable to be completely honest. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good ‘peg it on the pitch’ as much as the next guy/girl but when you’re looking likely to finish nineteenth or twentieth in the league there should be more sense shown.

By that I mean that it’s been a fantastic job done by Aidy and the Gang since February. I get that, I love that and I appreciate that. But thanks to the mini invasion they didn’t get the standing ovation that they so truly deserved. After some monumental efforts over the last few months, those players deserved a send-off and those long suffering supporters deserved to have the chance to thank them – particularly the one not able to get to Rotherham next week.

Anyway, rant over – save the invasions for times of utter jubilation like a promotion…believe me, it’s worth it.

So we’re down to one more match and Rotherham should be as run of the mill as this one but hopefully we can end this crazy season on a bit of a high and finally stick one to Steve Evans!

Northampton Town v Gillingham: Match Preview

With the relief and celebrations for the Cobblers last weekend it’s suddenly hit us that we’re down to the final home game of the season this weekend with plenty of interest to stop this one from becoming a run of the mill, end of season game.

For one, the reverse fixture at the Priestfield was one of the most dramatic involving the Cobblers from this entire campaign with Town edged out 4-3 on a day when both sides appeared to feel that defence was the best form of attack! There’s also another chance for Bayo to get one over on the club he joined for one season and also, of course, for Danny Jackman to make another Sixfields return.

Since the last meeting back in November, Gillingham have been their usual playoff bothering selves without breaking into the top seven frequently enough for their fans’ liking. They’re down to last chance saloon as they sit four points from a playoff berth with just six to play for. If they’re to have any chance at all of making it to the end of season lottery then they will have to take home maximum points on Saturday.

Aidy Boothroyd, on the other hand, will be demanding nothing less than total focus from a group of players that still might be looking to their contract situations next season and be looking to impress the boss ahead of some inevitable summer cuts.

So this should be far from a stroll for either side with Cobblers fans willing us to finish strongly and be rewarded for some fantastic support through the last nine months.

Gill's boss Andy Hessenthaler

Form…

The Cobblers stopped a rot of three successive defeats last weekend to finally secure league survival with a goalless draw at Hereford United.

Gillingham come into the game having beaten Swindon Town 3-1 at home last Saturday to keep alive their playoff hopes. Swindon were promoted despite that defeat but it should give Andy Hessenthaler’s men renewed hope having previously picked up just one win in seven.

Team News…

Aidy Boothroyd won’t be making too many changes to his side despite securing league status last weekend. A bid from Derby for Michael Jacobs was turned down this week so expect the midfielder to be right in the mix on Saturday with other scouts expected to be circling Sixfields.

Gillingham have their own wanted man in goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga. Having established himself as the Gills’ number one in February, the stopper has begun to attract attention from elsewhere. The 20-Year-Old should start again on Saturday. Meanwhile, Andy Frampton will be hoping to return from illness to play some part in the game and Chris Whelpdale will be battling to overcome a knee problem. Callum Davies remains side-lined with a hand injury.

Club Links…

One of the most controversial departures from Sixfields in recent years was that of Danny Jackman who suffered an early season ‘injury’ before signing for Gillingham and playing the day after proclaiming this problem to the Cobblers fans. Jackman had previously won the supporter’s Player of the Year award twice during a two year stay with the Cobblers.

Bayo Akinfenwa is another man who has turned out for both club after he signed for Gillingham for one year from Town before returning here last summer.

Last Six Meetings…

05/11/11: Gillingham 4-3 Cobblers

A memorable match at the Priestfield saw Jo Kuffour net a first half hat-trick for the home side to give them a seemingly insurmountable lead despite Saido Berahino scoring in between times for the Cobblers. A superb fight back from the Cobblers pulled things back to 3-3 with Kelvin Langmead and Berahino again hitting back before Bayo Akinfenwa missed a golden chance to put us in front. But it was the home side who took the glory in stoppage time when Danny Kedwell slotted in a penalty after Frank Nouble was brought down by Langmead to crush the Cobblers.

15/01/11: Gillingham 1-0 Cobblers

Cody McDonald scored the only goal in an otherwise forgettable game back in January 2011 at The Priestfield.

30/10/10: Cobblers 2-1 Gillingham

Chris Palmer gave Gillingham an early lead in the last Sixfields meeting between the two sides but Dean Beckwith levelled things before Leon McKenzie’s penalty sealed a good home win for the Cobblers.

16/02/08: Cobblers 4-0 Gillingham

Back when both sides were in League One, the Cobblers completed a league double over the Gills with a hammering thanks to a first half double from Jason Crowe and Bayo Akinfenwa and a second half which saw Bayo net again and Giles Coke complete the scoring.

19/01/08: Gillingham 0-1 Cobblers

A month before the Sixfields win, Town came home from the Priestfield with an important single goal victory after Daniel Jones’ third minute free kick turns out to be the only goal.

16/02/07: Cobblers 1-1 Gillingham

Dean McDonald thought that he’d given Gillingham an away win after he scored on the hour but with four minutes to go, Sheffield United loanee Jordan Robertson nicked the Cobblers a hard earned point.

Stroud...the man in charge

The Man In The Middle…

Keith Stroud is the man charged with keeping order on Saturday. Stroud took charge of Gillingham’s 4-3 home defeat to Crewe back in March, during which he sent off Danny Spiller, but his last Cobblers game was over a year ago in the 2-2 home draw with Rotherham United.

Prediction…

It’s the last home game of the season, there’s a party we need to poop and there should be niggling images on the players’ minds of that 4-3 defeat in November so hopefully we’ll still be up for it. There should be goals again so I’ll go for a 3-2 Cobblers win.