Match Preview: Cambridge United v Northampton Town

Cambridge United v Northampton Town

The Cobblers are in dire need of something – anything – to lift the mood after a catastrophic Tuesday night down the road. Form leading into the derby was good with two wins and two draws setting us up nicely for the London Road clash but what happened was the stuff of nightmares. Jon Brady has said that the players and staff are uniting at wanting to put it right as we head back to Cambridgeshire to take on a side under new management once again,.
 
If we can head over the cow fields and bring back a win, it wouldn’t completely erase Tuesday night but it would at least give us a starting point to move on and Brady will be looking at his players to restore some lost pride as a bare minimum. They looked leggy and unable to cope with Posh’s press and speed on Tuesday so some changes to the lineup may be needed to give us a bit of freshness.
 
On the other hand, Brady may see fit to throw the same eleven back out there to put things right themselves. It’s a tricky one to contend with as Cambridge come into the game straight off the back of appointing Bedford-born Garry Monk to their top job as well as welcoming January arrival Lyle Taylor back to the squad after suspension. Time to stand up and be counted once again.
 

The Opposition

After surviving on the final day of last season, Cambridge came into this one hoping that Mark Bonner could continue the momentum and steer them well clear of another battle at the wrong end of the table. Despite a good start, though, the U’s slipped back into worrying territory and by the time they arrived at Sixfields in late November they’d been hammered at London Road themselves and were showing no real signs of improvement.
 
So it was that Bonner paid the price and Neil Harris came in and lifted the spirits, not only getting the players on board quickly with his ideas but playing with a purpose and a desire that had his new side signing from the same hymn book once again. But, suddenly, a call from his old side Millwall came and Harris stunned his new side by jumping ship just a few weeks after signing a deal, meaning he’d manage in all three EFL divisions in one season.
 
This week, they turned to former Swansea, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Birmingham and Sheffield Wednesday man Garry Monk to take them forward. Monk hasn’t been in a top job for four years but appears to have been biding his time to take a role where he can be given room to breathe and plan a project rather than fear an early exit. He’s got a solid base to build on with his new side relatively strong at the back and if he can keep Lyle Taylor fit (and not suspended) he should ensure that his side has League One football to look forward to again next season.
 

Last Time Out

Cambridge were beaten 2-0 at promotion chasing Bolton last weekend while the Cobblers played a game on Tuesday night.

One To Watch

A few eyebrows were raised when Cambridge completed the signing of free agent Lyle Taylor back in January with then-boss Neil Harris dipping into his contact list to bring in the experienced striker who had just spent a brief time with Wycombe. 

Taylor has scored goals in most teams he’s been with in a long career and has hit three already since arriving at The Abbey. He was sent off during a home defeat to Bolton last month but is now back from a three-game ban to boost Garry Monk’s side this weekend.

Team News

Cambridge welcome back striker Lyle Taylor from suspension, as mentioned, and he’ll go straight back into their starting eleven. The U’s will still be without Gassan Ahadme who has been missing since December with a foot injury.
 
The Cobblers’ injury list was added to on Tuesday night when defender Jordan Willis was withdrawn from the derby with a calf problem that looks set to keep him out for a few weeks. Lee Burge, Akin Odimayo, Ali Koiki, Aaron McGowan and Tyler Magloire are still out.
 

Line-Up Prediction

Match Officials

Declan Bourne is the referee on Saturday. He was last in charge of a Cobblers game in November 2022 when we won 2-0 at Gillingham. Alistair Nelson and Leigh Crowhurst are running the lines and Andrew Aylott is fourth official.

Prediction

It’s so hard to tell how this one will go after the Cobblers’ display on Tuesday night and the fact that Cambridge have appointed Garry Monk this week. I’ll play it safe and go 1-1.

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