After a chastening defeat to Portsmouth at Fratton Park last weekend, the Cobblers return to Sixfields licking their wounds and looking ahead to another game against a promotion contender on Saturday. Bolton Wanderers are the visitors and Jon Brady will be hoping his side can rise to the challenge of beating a team in the current League One top six – something we’ve only managed once all season (but what a lovely one that was!)
It will need Sixfields to be loud and proud and to rise to the challenge on Saturday. It needs to be much better than Pompey and we have to come out fighting across the pitch if we’re to get anything.
Bolton sit in third place and had a shot at moving back into the top two on Tuesday night before their game at Cambridge United was abandoned due to heavy rainfall. The wasted trip will be an irritant to players and fans alike, especially the one who travelled 8,000 miles for the game, but the team will at least be well rested ahead of another trip south on Saturday.
After beating Town in October at the Tough Sheet Stadium, the Trotters went on a winning run that lasted six games including a 7-0 home trouncing of Exeter City. Defeats to Portsmouth and Bristol Rovers momentarily stunted them but a good Christmas and New Year period saw them claw their way back into the promotion mix.
That chase has undoubtedly been aided by the arrival of Aaron Collins from Bristol Rovers during the January transfer window. The striker adds fire power to a front line already boasting thirteen goal top scorer Dion Charles and the exciting Victor Adeboyejo. The depth in the squad is unquestionable and Jon Brady will once again be casting an envious eye across the divide.
With games in hand on Pompey at the top, this is a Bolton team who cannot let up on their pursuit of promotion and, with the Cobblers suffering from injuries again, we’re likely to be in for a very difficult afternoon.
Last Time Out
The Cobblers were beaten 4-1 at Portsmouth last weekend while Bolton drew 1-1 against Barnsley before seeing Tuesday night’s game at Cambridge abandoned.
One To Watch
With thirteen goals to his name this season, Dion Charles is the talisman for this Bolton side. Charles joined the Trotters in 2022 after scoring a hatful of goals for Accrington Stanley in League One.
He’s gone on to be just as prolific for Bolton with sixteen goals last season and is set to surpass that this time out. Charles scored the opener in their victory over the Cobblers in October.
The Cobblers could be without leading scorer Sam Hoskins for around a month with a hamstring injury picked up at Portsmouth last weekend. Sam Sherring was back on the bench for that game but he’s suffered a further setback this week and is likely to miss out again. Aaron McGowan, Akin Odimayo, Tyler Magloire, Ali Koiki, Jack Sowerby, Shaun McWilliams and Danny Hylton have all been missing recently and could once again sit out.
Bolton look set to be without defender Ricardo Santos who is suffering with a calf strain picked up a couple of weeks ago. Randell Williams is out with a hamstring injury while Dan Nlundulu has had surgery on his own hamstring tear and will likely miss the rest of the season. Gethin Jones was back in the squad on Tuesday night after returning from international duty while George Thomason is back in after a two game ban.
Jeremy Simpson is in charge on Saturday. Simpson hasn’t refereed a Cobblers game since the 4-2 win over Burton Albion in the FA Cup in January 2020. Robert Hyde and Mark Russell are running the lines and Aaron Jackson is fourth official.
For the second week in a row I’m predicting defeat for the Cobblers. I don’t like doing it but Bolton should have too much for a Town side struggling on the injury front and who were well beaten last weekend. 1-3
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.