Match Preview: Wigan Athletic v Northampton Town

Wigan Athletic v Northampton Town

With no goals in our opening two games, no points on the board and a cup exit already, albeit to a strong Swansea side in midweek, the Cobblers need to kick start the season. There were plenty of positives for the first hour or so last Saturday so Jon Brady and the travelling fans will be hoping that energy lasts longer as we make the trip north to the DW Stadium to face a Wigan side still smarting from an eight point deduction.

The cup defeat to Swansea pales into insignificance now and, with the derby looming large around the corner, we need to dig in and try and pluck out results from this one and the Tuesday night visit of Lincoln City.

This should be a very different type of game to last weekend when Stevenage came with a game plan to disrupt and pulled it off in true Steve Evans style. Wigan have evolved under Shaun Maloney and the impetus will be well and truly on them to come at us. For the Cobblers, it could all be about keeping things as tight as possible and choosing our moments to try and disrupt a young Latics backline.

It’s the first league game on the road – let’s go! 

The Opposition

There was yet more turmoil in the air at the DW Stadium last season with players not being paid on time on numerous occasions which led to a three point deduction and, ultimately, relegation from the Championship.

The Latics changed their manager twice with Leam Richardson starting the season in terrible form and the Kolo Toure experiment not working out at all before their former midfielder Shaun Maloney came in and changed the feel of the club over time even if the campaign did end in demotion. Maloney introduced a new style of play – with playing out from the back now the norm – and gave responsibility to a clutch of young players who could well thrive in League One. 

Another points penalty (a minus eight to start the season with) doesn’t appear to have knocked them too much if last weekend’s win at one of the league favourites, Derby, is anything to go by and in Charlie Wyke they have a strike who knows this level and will be well up for a battle to restore parity as soon as possible.

A summer takeover by local businessman Mike Danson has galvanised the club and the surrounding area and suddenly there’s a renewed sense of optimism around the place. It may take time for this to translate into league standings but this is a club who are, once again, ready to rise from the ashes.

Last Time Out

The Cobblers were comfortably beaten by Championship side Swansea City in the EFL Cup on Tuesday night while Wigan were also beaten, on penalties, at Wrexham. 

One To Watch

Centre back Charlie Hughes is a star on the rise and one that is likely to shine this season in League One. Hughes is Wigan born and came through the academies of Manchester City and Liverpool before joining the Latics in 2017.

He made his full debut back in December with a man of the match appearance and hasn’t looked back since. Hughes signed a new, extended deal in the summer with many clubs further up the league ladder showing interest.

Team News

Wigan should welcome back Sean Clare after he was rested for the cup defeat at Wrexham while the likes of Charlie Wyke, Callum Lang and Thelo Aasgaard should come back into the starting lineup.

The Cobblers will still be without Ben Fox for another month while Danny Hylton and Tyler Magloire are other long term absentees. Shaun McWilliams and Harvey Lintott expect to be back training soon but this weekend is likely to come too early for them to be involved. Lee Burge, Jon Guthrie and Tyreece Simpson were rested in midweek and should all return. 

Line-Up Prediction

Match Officials

The referee on Saturday will be Ross Joyce who last officiated the Cobblers in the 1-0 home win over Crawley in March where he showed a controversial red card to Aaron McGowan. Daniel Woodward and Danny Jarvis are running the lines and Luis Griffiths is fourth official.

Prediction

This is going to be incredibly difficult for the Cobblers. A home support desperate for their team to follow up on their win at Derby with victory in their first home game of the season, a campaign to turn the stadium blue and white and a very good side playing some good football. With Town still getting up to speed, the best we can probably hope for is a draw. 0-0

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