Northampton Town v AFC Wimbledon Match Preview – The Real Dons are the Cobblers’ opponents in round 2 of the Carabao Cup
The Carabao Cup provides the perfect opportunity for the Cobblers to bounce back from their lacklustre performance in the defeat to Rochdale at the weekend.
I’m not sure whether Jon Brady should be making too many changes to his team for tonight’s game. Obviously Fraser Horsfall comes back into contention after serving his suspension on Saturday but I wonder whether resting Guthrie would be more worthwhile than dropping Sid Nelson.
That isn’t to say that the EFL Cup shouldn’t be treated seriously. It offers a great opportunity for a pay-day against a big Premier League side. AFC Wimbledon aren’t going to just rollover and allow us to waltz through into the third round though.
Tonight’s game is an opportunity to get back on track so I’d expect the Cobblers to be up for it and provide us paying punters with a match to enjoy.
The second round is the furthest that the Dons have reached in this competition but having knocked out Charlton Athletic in the first round, the Cobblers will look like an easier proposition for Mark Robinson’s Dons.
After winning away at Doncaster on the opening day of the season, Wimbledon drew to Bolton and Gillingham before losing their first game, away at Sunderland, at the weekend.
Interestingly Wimbledon have been trialling the use of a dedicated substitutions coach so far this season, as Sammy Lander has taken on the new role for games against Charlton, Doncaster and Bolton, in addition to being involved at the training ground during the week.
With Ben Ryan – who coached Fiji to rugby sevens gold at the 2016 Olympics – and former Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew also currently providing consultation for the club, their unorthodox approach could again reap dividends at Sixfields.
Last time out
Sunderland became the first team to beat the Dons this season as they ran out 1-0 winners at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
One to watch
Scottish teenager Aaron Pressley has featured regularly so far this season after making only a handful of appearances for parent club Brentford last term. Another youngster, Ayoub Assal is likely to start in support of the frontman, having recently signed a new contract with the club.
If they’ve done their homework properly, AFC Wimbledon will revert back to a wingback system for tonight’s tie, as they did when knocking out Charlton in round one. Henry Lawrence and Paul Osew would likely operate as wing-backs or Cheye Alexander could provide an alternative option out wide. Ollie Palmer (remember him?) will be looking to win the battle to lead the line. On loan star, Aaron Pressley is the other striking option available to the Dons.
The Cobblers will welcome back Fraser Horsfall and may look to give Jordan Flores some minutes as the former Hull City man makes his way back from injury.
Hopefully, whoever is picked, will provide more creativity than was seen against Rochdale.
AFC Wimbledon 1-0 Cobblers (March 27 2021)
Sam Hoskins missed a last minute penalty after Piggot scored what turned out to be the winner in the 88th minute for the Dons. It was a real nail in the coffin for the Cobblers as they failed to stay in League One.
Ross Joyce is in his 7th season as an EFL referee. He was in charge of Scunthorpe’s 1-1 draw with Sutton United on Saturday and has dished out a total of 8 yellow cards and no reds so far this season.
I’m not meaning to be pessimistic here but I can’t see the Cobblers winning this one. I was guilty of underestimating Rochdale and getting carried away by the success of a couple of games at the start of the season last week. I can’t do that again.
So I’m afraid I’m going for a closely fought defeat for Brady’s boys this evening. Who needs a cup run anyway?