Match Preview: Colchester united v Northampton Town

Read our preview of the Cobblers' trip to Colchester United.

As the season enters its final third, the Cobblers’ involvement in the League Two promotion race is hanging by a thread. Despite us being comfortably involved all season, it’s going to need a big effort to make sure we now even stay in the top seven after the recent slump continued with last weekend’s 2-1 home defeat to Grimsby. 

The Opposition

Our hosts on Saturday have been slowly turning their season around in recent weeks but were hit, pretty suddenly, when Gareth Ainsworth left his role at Wycombe to join QPR and The U’s boss Matt Bloomfield was immediately drafted in to Adams Park, where he already had a long standing association.

Bloomfield’s departure has the potential to slightly upset the recent upturn in results that had seen them rise from relegation candidates to mid-table during his short, five month, reign. From Boxing Day onwards, they’ve won six of their twelve games including big victories over Gillingham, Harrogate, Rochdale and Hartlepool.

Throughout the entire season, there have been a large number of defeats where the U’s have been beaten by the odd goal, including their 3-2 loss at Sixfields on the opening day, so they have at least been in a lot of their games.

What impact this week’s events has in the short term remains to be seen and the Cobblers need to take advantage of any kind of instability.

Ross Embleton has been placed in temporary charge of the U’s ahead of the weekend.

Last Time Out

Colchester were narrowly beaten 1-0 at our promotion rivals Carlisle United last weekend while the Cobblers lost 2-1 at home to Grimsby.

One To Watch

January arrival Matt Jay hasn’t found the net for the U’s yet but his pedigree at this level with Exeter City is unquestionable. With only four goals to the names of each of United’s top scorers, they need Jay to find the sort of form that helped Exeter to promotion to make sure they have a strong finish to the season.

TEAM NEWS
Colchester welcomed back captained Tommy Smith at Carlisle last week and he’s set to start again. Experienced midfielder Cole Skuse is missing, though, after it was revealed that he will need surgery on a knee injury while the U’s will also check on the fitness of former Cobbler Luke Chambers after he missed out last weekend with an ankle injury.
 
The Cobblers will still be without Danny Hylton, Ben Fox, Kieron Bowie and Akin Odimayo for the next few weeks while Josh Harrop and Ryan Haynes are suffering with  muscle injuries but goalkeeper Lee Burge is close to a return and could even be back in the squad for Saturday.

Line-Up Prediction

Match Officials

Sunny Singh Gill made history the last time he took charge of the Cobblers as he became the first British South Asian to referee an EFL fixture since his dad, Jarnail Singh, over a decade ago when he was officiated our home game with Hartlepool back in August. He’s back in the middle this weekend with Michael Webb and David Harrison running the lines and Marc Wilson the fourth official.

Prediction

If I keep predicting a Cobblers win, we might just get it eventually! Town need to make the most of any uncertainty at Colchester and hopefully we can nick it. I’ll go 2-1 Cobblers.

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