After a stunning, beautiful and passionate derby win last weekend, the Cobblers are back on the road and looking to take the momentum gained from a glorious afternoon against that blue lot from down the road as we travel to Cheltenham for the first time since that 2020 League Two Playoff Semi-Final.
The clubs have crossed back over since then but are now back on a level standing with both having been through wholesale changes. What remains, though, is a fierce competitive edge and both sides will come into this one with eyes on a victory.
We’ve had a week to bask in the glory of the win over the Posh (and let’s face it, we’ll bask for most of this season!) but now we need to get back to business and make our mark against a side likely to be competing in and around us this season and one hungry for their first win and goal of the campaign.
The year after the Covid Playoff defeat to the Cobblers, Cheltenham regrouped and performed wonders in marching to the League Two title under the eagle eye of the up and coming manager Michael Duff.
Duff was then poached by Barnsley, a League One rival, and the Robins were faced with a major rebuild. In came former player Wade Elliott, though, and he masterminded a season that saw Town steer well clear of relegation and lay down foundations in the the third tier. Their 16th place finish last season was the highest league finish in the club’s history.
This summer has seen last season’s top scorer, Alfie May, depart for Charlton, though, and there’s been an almost instant impact. Cheltenham have gone four games without a goal in the league and come into Saturday desperate to get off the mark. A 0-0 draw at Portsmouth, headlined by a fan being called upon to run the line at Fratton Park, was a step forward and they’ll be hoping to grab their first win against the Cobblers.
Last Time Out
The Cobblers BEAT PETERBOROUGH UNITED 1-0 in our last outing with that dramatic Mitch Pinnock winner in the 90th minute. Meanwhile, Cheltenham picked up their first point of the season when they held Portsmouth 0-0 at Fratton Park
One To Watch
Striker Aidan Keena became Cheltenham’s record signing when he joined from Sligo Rangers back in January.
Irishman Keena came through the academies of Shelbourne and St Patrick’s Athletic before moving to Scotland to join Hearts in 2017. After loan spells with Queen’s Park and Dunfermline, he signed for Hartlepool in 2020 and then moved back to Scotland to join Falkirk.
Following that was his most successful spell with a club when his home land called again with Keena signing for Sligo and scoring eighteen goals for the club before Cheltenham swooped during the January window. He scored six goals in nineteen goals in the second half of last season.
Cheltenham will be without former Cobblers loanee James Olayinka who dislocated his shoulder during the recent home defeat to Bolton while they’re also waiting on news on Oli Hammond’s injury. Elliot Bonds is another who is very likely to be out.
The Cobblers will still be without Ben Fox, Danny Hylton and Tyler Magloire who are all long term absentees. Lee Burge is likely to be out for another few weeks while Ryan Haynes is all still missing. Harvey Lintott came off the bench on Saturday and could be pushing for a start while Shaun McWilliams could also be back involved.
Tom Nield is referee this Saturday at Whaddon Road. Nield last took charge of the Cobblers in our 2-1 home defeat to Wycombe in last season’s EFL Cup First Round. Blake Antrobus and Mark Russell are running the lines and James Durkin is fourth official.
The Cobblers will be looking to avoid an “after the lord mayor’s show” situation. I can see Cheltenham finally breaking their goal scoring duck but think we can come away with at least a point. 2-2.
A Cobblers fan all his life, Danny is the most down to earth football supporter from Northampton.
While at university in Southampton, Danny kept up to date with all things NTFC from afar, sharing his thoughts on his ‘A Load Of Cobblers’ online blog.