Match Preview: Northampton Town v Charlton Athletic

Northampton Town v Charlton Athletic

Back in August, when this season was in its infancy, you’d have to search high and low for anyone who would have both the Cobblers flying in mid-table and Charlton battling relegation. But, after a superb campaign from Jon Brady’s side and a tumultuous one for the Addicks, this is where we’re at for a Sixfields clash that could see us reach a points target that would make certain of a League One place next season. 
 
Back in January, we came away from The Valley with an outstanding 3-2 victory with Louis Appere clinching the three points in the 97th minute and that was the catalyst for Michael Appleton to be shown the door.
 
Charlton are now starting to get right back on track, though, with a management team in place that look likely to put any relegation fears to bed and build towards better times next season. They’ll bring a fresh and battling side to Sixfields on Saturday as they look to continue writing the wrongs of the first half of the campaign.
 

The Opposition

Three managers, an unexpected drop into the relegation battle and players not performing anywhere near their levels – it’s been a tough season for a side expected to kick on from their tenth place finish last time out. 
 
It didn’t take long for Dean Holden to be given his marching orders after a start to the season that saw Charlton lose four times in a row having won their opening game. Holden was replaced by our old friends Michael Appleton at the start of September and he made a solid start with three wins and three draws from his opening six games in charge.
 
Back to back defeats at the end of October coincided with attacking options dropping to injury and the Addicks then struggled to get any kind of run together. In early December, a dreadful run of form began that would ultimately cost Appleton his job after the 3-2 loss at home to the Cobblers. 
 
The club had fallen to new lows by the time Nathan Jones came in and his first game in charge saw a 2-0 defeat at Reading saw them drop to within goal difference of the drop zone. But, since then, Jones has got his players battling and believing in their own abilities and has returned big draws with promotion chasing Bolton and Charlton before the biggest moment of his tenure so far – a 2-1 success at Derby on Tuesday night.
 
They’re not yet safe but there’s a sense that Jones has finally given Charlton fans a connection to the club again and they come to Sixfields with a renewed confidence and hope.
 

Last Time Out

The Cobblers came away from Burton Albion with a 2-0 win last weekend while Charlton drew 0-0 at league leaders Portsmouth before beating Derby 2-1 at Pride Park on Tuesday night.

One To Watch

Signed from Cheltenham in the summer, Alfie May has delivered the goods in a tough campaign. May’s goal from the spot at Derby on Tuesday night was his first since netting at home to Peterborough in January but it did take him to seventeen for the season. 

May had to start from the bench at Pride Park as Nathan Jones rotated but it’s likely that he comes back in from the start on Saturday.

Team News

The Cobblers have striker Danny Hylton back and available for this one but Ali Koiki, Akin Odimayo, Lee Burge, Tyler Magloire and Aaron McGowan are all still out. Top scorer Sam Hoskins was back on the bench in the last two games and could be back in the starting eleven for the weekend.
 
Charlton will be without former Cobbler Lloyd Jones as the defender serves the second game of a suspension. Miles Leaburn is out for the season after undergoing hamstring surgery in December while Kayne Ramsey is also missing with a hamstring problem. Michael Hactor has returned to training, though, and could be involved.
 

Line-Up Prediction

Match Officials

The referee for this one is Martin Woods. Woods was last in charge of the Cobblers in the 1-0 win over that blue lot from down the road in August. Christopher Husband and Kenwyn Hughes are running the lines and Ryan Head is fourth official.

Prediction

Charlton seem to have a second wind under Nathan Jones and we know they’ll come out all guns blazing. So a point could actually be a decent result this weekend and that’s what I’m going for. 1-1.

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