Match Preview: Burton Albion v Northampton Town

It’s back to the road this weekend as the Cobblers head to Burton Albion for the first time with fans since that memorable FA Cup tie just before lockdown. The scenes that day won’t quite be matched in the away ends on Saturday (the attendance allowed for the cup is a fair bit higher) but if we can exit with a win it would take us tantalisingly close to the target needed for safety.
 
Both the Cobblers and Burton’s fortunes took dramatic turns after the last time we met back in November. The return of Jack Sowerby from injury helped us to end a six-game winless run that had taken us down to 20th and just above the relegation zone ahead of the game with the midfielder’s return meaning Marc Leonard could push forward into his more creative role. Leonard took full advantage to score and was a constant source of pain to the Brewers and we haven’t been anywhere near danger ever since.
 
Burton, on the other hand, came into it in eleventh place but defeat at Sixfields began a spiralling run of form that would end up costing Dino Maamria his job. There’s a new boss in charge now, though, and things are starting to look up.
 

The Opposition

Buton had a difficult start to the season under Maamria with five defeats and two draws from their opening seven games. But they were rejuvenated in September and October with a run of form leading up to that game at Sixfields taking them from the bottom four to the brink of the playoff places. Victories over Port Vale, Wigan, Cambridge Lincoln and Bristol Rovers pointed to them exceeding expectations and of a club free of the early season slump.
 
But defeat at Sixfields seemed to set in motion a run of form that, ultimately, cost Maamria his job off the back of five straight defeats. The club took their time over Christmas to name a successor and it took over a month before they brought in Martin Paterson for his first managerial role. Paterson had held assistant roles in America at the end of his playing days before moving back to England to work under Michael Duff at both Barnsley and Swansea. It was a risk at a club fighting relegation but, so far, it’s royally paid off.
 
After a gutsy showing in a 3-2 defeat at Derby in his opening match in charge, Paterson has led his new side to three wins from his next five games including eyebrow raising successes at Bristol Rovers and Leyton Orient. Paterson has instilled a belief in his players to go for games and has them approaching games released from any thoughts of them being an underdog.
 
This is a new and much improved Brewers outfit.
 

Last Time Out

The Cobblers came from behind twice to grab a 2-2 draw with Oxford United on Tuesday night while Burton also turned their game around to win 2-1 away at Leyton Orient last weekend.

One To Watch

Albion’s attacking personnel has changed over the transfer window but one crucial cog in the system remains in Mark Helm. Helm is the one from the midfield group that will burst forward and make things happen and Paterson’s methods are filling him with the confidence to do so. 

The 22-year-old joined from Burnley in January last year and has four goals to his name so far this season.

Team News

Burton will welcome back Adedeji Oshilaja after suspension while Sam Hughes and Jasper Moon are still out. But Martin Paterson is all set to name an unchanged side to the one that beat Orient last weekend. 
 
Sam Hoskins returned to the Cobblers squad on Tuesday night and he’ll be pushing for a start on Saturday. The likes of Sam Sherring, Shaun McWilliams and Jack Sowerby have all edged back into action in the last week but Lee Burge, Aaron McGowan, Akin Odimayo, Tyler Magloire, Danny Hylton and Ali Koiki are still likely to be missing.
 

Line-Up Prediction

Match Officials

Tom Reeves is in charge of this one – his last Cobblers game was the 1-0 home defeat to Wycombe back in September. Thomas Harty and Declan Ford are running the lines and Mark Jones is fourth official.

Prediction

Both sides will see this as one to attack and it should mean it’s an entertaining encounter at the Pirelli. I’m going for a 1-1 draw.

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