After a week that’s seen one of the most outrageous red card decisions in football history take centre stage, the Cobblers are back in action with the long trip north to relegation threatened Hartlepool United up next.
Town have to take any feelings of the world being against them and use them for these final twelve games in the way that it did at Sixfields when we took the game and won it with ten men against Crawley.
This won’t be easy, though. Hartlepool have a new boss and are fighting for their lives. We know how much form can turn on its head when seasons start coming towards the end so Town need to be on their a game as we look to chase down the top three.
Hartlepool are on their third manager of the season as they look to arrest a slide back towards the National League having only recently rejoined the EFL.
After Paul Hartley had a nightmare start to the campaign, Keith Curle took the reins and initially stabilised the club before the January transfer window failed to bear as much fruit as he’d hoped. Curle was shown the door as the relegation line grew closer and closer and chairman Raj Singh acted again. The final throw of the dice was to bring in former York City man John Askey, who comes with high praise from his former club’s fans.
Askey led York from the National League North to promotion and up to a comfortable twelfth position before being harshly dismissed. When the vacancy came up again recently, Askey’s name was on most City fans’ lips but he’s made the move to try and drag Hartlepool from danger instead.
The job is a big one with games coming up against the Cobblers, Bradford, Orient, Swindon and Stevenage and with Crawley still holding games in hand below them, it’s guaranteed to be a nerve jangling run-in for the Monkey Hangers.
Last Time Out
Hartlepool picked up a good point away from home at Tranmere last weekend, drawing 1-1, while the Cobblers edged out Crawley 1-0 at Sixfields.
One To Watch
Top scorer Josh Umerah has missed the last couple of games, and the first two under new boss John Askey, but if he can get himself fit in time for Saturday, he’ll give the Cobblers defenders a busy afternoon.
Umerah scored 17 times for Wealdstone in the National League last season before making the move to Pools.
Hartlepool have been without the aforementioned Umerah for the last two games with a knee injury as well as illness so he’ll be checked on once again. Tom Crawford is also back in contention but Alex Lacey is still out. Dan Dodds has been out for the last couple of weeks and the weekend could come too soon for him.
The Cobblers will be without Ali Koiki, who was ruled out for the rest of the season this week, while Ben Fox’s campaign is also over. Aaron McGowan starts his ridiculous three game ban after tickling Jack Roles last weekend while Akin Odimayo, Shaun McWilliams, Josh Harrop and Danny Hylton are still out. In better news, Keiron Bowie could be in line for a return at the weekend and Ryan Haynes may be able to start in Koiki’s place.
Thomas Kirk is in charge of this one. Kirk last officiated the Cobblers for the 1-1 draw with Newport back in October and has shown 101 yellow cards and 2 reds this season. Wayne Grunnill and Bradley Hall are running the lines and Matthew Sowerby is fourth official.
We have to look at this as one we can win and despite us saying that a number of times over the past few weeks I think we can battle to victory here. 2-1 Cobblers
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.