Fleetwood Town v Northampton Town: Match Preview

After disposing of the plastic Dons and the real Dons in the last two games in the JPT and League Two respectively, it’s back to the road for the Cobblers on Saturday with a first ever league trip to Fleetwood Town. The Cod Army have made a good start to their first ever season in he Football League and will provide a huge test, especially after a fantastic result last weekend.

Parkin off the mark in style…

Fleetwood stormed to a 4-0 win at Morecambe last weekend with the star of the show undoubtedly summer signing Jon Parkin. ‘The Beast’ scored a hat-trick at the Globe Arena -his first goals since joining on a free transfer from Cardiff City in the summer – and made the other one for Barry Nicholson to propel his side up to fourth place in the table after five games.

Mellon going for promotion number three…

Fleetwood have been transformed over the last few years and leading the charge is manager Mickey Mellon who has overseen two promotions since taking charge in 2008. Mellon led the club to top spot in the Conference last season with the Cod Army collecting 103 points along the way to pip Wrexham to the title. A summer of big recruitment followed as Mellon looks to write another chapter in the growing history of the club.

Team News…

Fleetwood have the luxury of a fully fit squad to choose from and Mickey Mellon is set to name an unchanged side to the one that hammered Morecambe at the Globe Arena last weekend.

The Cobblers aren’t likely to make too many changes to the side that saw off AFC Wimbledon last weekend at Sixfields with Luke Guttridge the only possibly one incoming to the starting eleven after he shook off a virus this week. Louis Moult came in for him and did a good job as well as scoring a hat-trick in a behind closed doors friendly with Notts County this week though and could keep his place. Goalkeeper Shane Higgs played his first 45 minutes for months in the same game but won’t be considered for selection for a while yet.

Previous Meetings…

The clubs have only met once before and that was three years ago in the FA Cup First Round. Fleetwood were a Conference North side back then, though, and the Cobblers ran out 2-1 winners at Sixfields. Luke Guttridge put the Cobblers in front before Sean Clancy levelled for the visitors just before the break. It was to be Guttridge’s day though as he settled the tie on the hour mark.

The Man in the Middle…

Steve Rushton is the man to take charge of this one. He was the official for last season’s dramatic 1-0 win at Burton and the not so memorable 2-1 defeat at Bradford.


It’s likely to be a tough examination for Town at Highbury and with both clubs on a decent run in front of goal it should be a high scoring game. I’m going for a score draw of 2-2.


Rotherham United v Northampton Town: Match Preview

Don Valley Stadium

So another long season comes to an end. We’re just one game away from completing the 2011/12 season that has brought us anger, strife, Gary Johnson, revival, nerves and finally relief and we go to Rotherham tomorrow to play our part in what will be (thankfully for home and away fans alike) their final game at the Don Valley Stadium.

The Millers plan to move to the shiny new 12,500 capacity New York Stadium in time for the start of next season and they will be hoping to round off their tenure in Sheffield in style even if it is too late to mount a playoff charge.

For the Cobblers it’s a final chance this season to put one over on Steve Evans who took charge of Rotherham a month ago but has failed to spark their fire enough to steer them into the top seven so not too much to play for apart from final league standings for both clubs. The highest that the Cobblers can now finish is 18th while Rotherham can end up in eighth if all goes their way.


Since Evans took over, Rotherham have won two home game, against Cheltenham and Morecambe but were beaten by Shrewsbury and held at Aldershot on their travels. Last weekend’s draw at the EBB Stadium left them with no chance of reaching the playoffs but they should be strong again next season.

The Cobblers are without a win in five having drawn the last two at Hereford and at home to Gillingham in last weekend’s final home game of the season.

Jacobs…last game for Town?

Team News…

Rotherham defender Ryan Cresswell will return after serving a one game suspension last weekend. But Tom Newey serves his one match ban after his sending off against Aldershot and Lewis Grabban faces a late fitness test.

There shouldn’t be too many changes for the Cobblers but there will be final games, for now at least, for loanees Clarke Carlisle, Brett Williams, Toni Silva and Blair Adams. Michael Jacobs will play his 100th, and potentially last, game for the club with the midfielder still undecided on his future.

Club Links…

Brett Williams has played for both clubs this season having turned out eleven times for Rotherham and scoring twice earlier in the campaign.

Last Six Meetings…

29/10/11: Cobblers 1-1 Rotherham

Gary Johnson’s final home game in charge of the Cobblers saw Gareth Evan’s second minute strike cancelled out by a Conrad Logan own goal mid-way through the first half.

22/04/11: Cobblers 2-2 Rotherham

The infamous celebrations that followed a Cobblers recovery from 2-0 down on Good Friday last season has been etched into memory more than the game itself. After Leon McKenzie and Liam Davis had cancelled out a Paul Rodgers own goal and a Ryan Taylor effort, Cobblers fan Derry Felton invaded the pitch in his wheelchair to create a moment of humour in last season’s relegation battle!

23/11/10: Rotherham 2-2 Cobblers

The Cobblers had already come back from two down against Rotherham earlier in the season as well. Having gone behind to Ryan Taylor and Marcus Marshall goals, Abdul Osman and Andy Holt replied within minutes and the half-time score of 2-2 remained until the end.

13/04/10: Rotherham 1-0 Cobblers

Red cards everywhere in this one as Adam Le Fondre’s goal settled a promotion battle at the Don Valley Stadium. Ryan Gilligan had already missed a penalty when Craig Hinton conceded a spot kick of our own that Le Fondre scored from and Hinton was shown his marching orders for the challenge. Luke Guttridge and Danny Harrison were also sent off later in the game meaning that we ended with nine men and Rotherham finished with ten.

29/09/09: Cobblers 3-1 Rotherham

Ryan Gilligan and Courtney Herbert had the Cobblers in control in this Tuesday night encounter before Ian Sharps’ own goal made it 3-0. Adam Le Fondre’s penalty was only a consolation on this occasion.

24/02/07: Cobblers 3-0 Rotherham

The Good Doctor opened the scoring before Mark Hughes and Ian Taylor made the game safe even before the half time whistle had gone.

The Man In The Middle…

The final referee to take charge of a Cobblers game this season is Carl Boyeson who was the referee for our 4-0 home defeat by Wolves in this season’s Carling Cup.


Anything can happen on the last day and sometimes you get funny results when both sides are playing for pride alone. So I’ll round off this season with a 3-3 thriller of a prediction!

Crawley Town v Northampton Town: Match Preview

It’s another one of those that falls into the ‘more in hope than expectation’ category on Tuesday night as the Cobblers travel to the Broadfield Stadium for the first time in our history. The only other time we have played an away game in Crawley was in an FA Cup tie in 1991 that took place in the Red Devil’s old Town Mead ground. Back then of course they were a non-league outfit (and typically dumped the Cobblers out of the cup) and plenty has changed in the twenty years since.

Crawley were hot favourites for the League Two title but after a slight mid-season wobble they will be delighted with a top three finish, particularly after the recent departure of manager Steve Evans to Rotherham United and rumours that their financial backing could be close to ending. Whatever happens off the pitch, they can go back into those top three places with a victory against the Cobblers so that will ensure we’re in for a tough time of things.


Crawley have drawn three of their last four games with the latest coming on Saturday as AFC Wimbledon came away from the Broadhall Stadium with a 1-1 draw. After defender Hope Akpan was sent off early on, the Wombles looked to be taking all three points home when Sammy Moore netted but Gary Alexander rescued a point with ten minutes to play.

The Cobblers need two more points to ensure safety after back to back defeats halted a good run of form. Following a 1-0 reverse at Swindon on Bank Holiday Monday, Town fell to a 3-1 defeat at home to fellow strugglers Bradford City on Saturday.

Team News…

Crawley’s Hope Akpan will serve the first of a four game suspension that keeps him out for the rest of the league season after he picked up his second red card of the season on Saturday. Sergio Torres and Pablo Mills are also still missing through suspension but Claude Davis and Kyle McFadzean return from bans.

The Cobblers will give a late fitness test to Ben Harding who missed the weekend defeat to Bradford with an ankle injury. Apart from that, though, there’s no new problems to deal with in terms of injury or suspension.

Club Links…

Billy Clarke...former Cobbler

Billy Clarke played five times for the Cobblers on loan from Ipswich Town in 2009, scoring all three of his Town goals on his debut in a 5-1 drubbing of Crewe.

Midfielder David Hunt is another ex-Cobbler having spent three years at Sixfields including being involved in the successful 2006 promotion winning side.

Strike Karl Hawley was previously on loan with the Cobblers and scored twice in eleven appearances back in the 2008/09 season.

Previous  Meetings…

08/10/11: Cobblers 0-1 Crawley

The first ever league meeting between the sides was broadcast live on Sky Sports and Crawley took home the points thanks to a Matt Tubbs strike mid-way through the first half.

16/11/91: Crawley 4-2 Cobblers (FA Cup First Round)

En route to what was, at the time, their best ever cup run, Crawley shocked the Cobblers by winning this First Round FA Cup tie at their old Town Mead ground. The Red Devils went on the reach the Third Round where they were eventually beaten by neighbours Brighton and Hove Albion.

The Man In The Middle…

Christopher Sarginson takes charge of his first Cobblers game since a goalless draw at Barnet in late 2009, during which he sent off the Bees’ Dean Sinclair.


If we can pick up anything from this then I’ll be well happy. Crawley will be desperate to get back into the top three but I can see Aidy getting us a bit wound up after a poor show on Saturday. I’ll have an ambitious point…1-1.

Northampton Town v Bradford City: Match Preview

So we’re one win away from winning the battle for good. The battle against the drop has been long and arduous but it could all come to a head this weekend should we overcome Bradford City at Sixfields. It’s been a monumental effort to get ourselves in such a position where we could still have four games to play after earning safety and what a great feeling that would be.

Bradford are no mugs though and can be dangerous on their day, as proven by their 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture back in October. Both clubs have suffered through a tough relegation scrap since that day, though…


The Cobblers may have lost on Easter Monday at Swindon but had, before that, only been beaten once in nine games. Home form has also picked up with five wins, one draw and just one defeat from the last seven at Sixfields.

Bradford are still looking over their shoulders slightly going into this weekend after three defeats in the last four games saw them fall to 21st in League Two. They’re still seven points clear of the bottom two though, so should be safe but for a disastrous last few weeks of the season.

Team News…

Aidy Boothroyd has revealed that he may make one or two changes for this one with a possible return for Toni Silva who was missing last Monday due to a family bereavement. If Silva doesn’t make it, Lewis Young may be one to get a chance after coming off the bench at Swindon.

Bradford have two players back that were suspended after the after match brawl with Crawley with keeper Jon McLaughlin back in the frame and Luke Oliver also available but City boss Phil Parkinson has made no guarantees for either to start. That might mean a quick Sixfields return for Matt Duke who spent a decent few games on loan here before his recall.

Duke...Sixfields return?

Club Links…

Matt Duke was, of course, recalled by Bradford from the Cobblers a couple of weeks ago thanks to an almighty brawl against Crawley that saw first choice keeper Jon McLaughlin sent off along with two team mates. Duke played nine times for Town during his loan spell at Sixfields.

Bradford defender Guy Branston is another former Cobblers loanee having played three times for Town in 2007.

Last Six Meetings…

22/10/11: Bradford 2-1 Cobblers

Earlier this season, the Cobblers fell to a narrow defeat at Valley Parade with Michael Jacobs’ belter of a strike cancelled out by a Craig Fagan penalty before James Hanson completed the fight back with the winner soon after.

19/03/11: Bradford 1-1 Cobblers

Gary Johnson collected his first point in charge of the club at Bradford in this draw back in March 2011. Jake Speight had given the Bantams the lead with an early penalty but Shaun Harrad cancelled that out with a spot kick of his own on the hour mark. Jonathon Worthington was sent off in stoppage time for the hosts.

25/09/11: Cobblers 2-0 Bradford

Just a few days after the big win at Liverpool in last season’s Carling Cup, the Cobblers kept up the high spirits with a comfortable home victory. Billy McKay and Ben Tozer scored the goals at Sixfields.

01/05/10: Bradford 2-0 Cobblers

Bradford all but ended the Cobblers’ feint playoff hopes in our last away game of the 2009/10 season as a brace from Gareth Evans was enough to see us off. Dean Beckwith’s 37th minute red card didn’t help things!

03/10/09: Cobblers 2-2 Bradford

The Cobblers fell two goals behind in this entertaining contest in October 2009 thanks to goals from Simon Ramsden and Michael Boulding in quick succession. But substitute Alex Dyer pulled one back before John Johnson equalised in the final minute of the game.

17/03/07: Bradford 1-2 Cobblers

Billy Paynter gave the home side the lead in this relegation battle in League One but Bradley Johnson equalised just two minutes later. And with two minutes to go, Kenny Deuchar scored the winner to push the Cobblers ever closer to safety.

The Man In The Middle…

Oliver Langford takes control of this one having already been involved in a Cobblers match this season. Unfortunately it was one to forget – the 4-1 reverse at  Plymouth Argyle!


So one more win and we’ll be over the finish line barring some ridiculous miracle of maths. I’ve got a good feeling that we will seal it on Saturday so am going for a 2-1 home win!