Ten games to go. The promotion race is back on after a Tuesday night win over Mansfield that saw the Cobblers show heart, desire and fire in the bellies and there’s no time to let up as Crewe visit Sixfields looking to build on a decent second half of the season.
After the dreadful 2021/22 campaign saw Crewe finishing bottom of League One, this was always going to be the start of a rebuilding period for the club. It’s turned into a slightly bigger job than some would have expected, though, with a mid-season managerial change being needed to steady the ship.
Alex Morris had a good start to the season in charge but results and performances tailed off and he essentially swapped positions with then assistant manager Lee Bell in November. Bell, a former Crewe player over two spells, managed wins in his two games as interim boss before being handed the reins on a full time basis but the Alex then lost three in a row in December.
Slowly but surely, though, Bell has put his own marker down on this side and has led them to a place where looking over their shoulders is no longer a thing. There have been plenty of draws (15 in total in the league – the joint highest) along the way but there’s a sense that the club are already gearing up for next season, potentially meaning that they could be playing with a bit more freedom.
Defeat at Stevenage on Tuesday was their first in eight games and there’s every chance that they will give us a very different kind of test on Saturday.
Last Time Out
The Cobblers edged out Mansfield town 1-0 at Sixfields on Tuesday night while Crewe were beaten by our promotion rivals Stevenage at Boradhall Way by the same scoreline.
One To Watch
With twelve goals to his name so far this season, Dan Agyei is the main man for The Alex at the moment. Able to play wide or through the middle, he’s hit six in his last eight games and Crewe will be hoping to tie him down with a longer contract as his current deal ends this summer.
Ali Koiki and Ben Fox are out for the season and Aaron McGowan serves the third of his three game suspension. Tyler Magloire, Akin Odimayo, Shaun McWilliams, Josh Harrop and Danny Hylton are the other absentees. Mitch Pinnock should return after the birth of his baby daughter this week while Jon Brady will wait on news of Louis Appéré and Jack Sowerby after both hobbled off during the win over Mansfield.
Crewe will be without former Cobblers defender Rod McDonald after his red card at Sutton United a couple of weeks ago while Ryan Finnigan, having been withdrawn on Tuesday night during the game at Stevenage, could miss out. Chris Long has been out since the start of the season and is still not ready to return while Zac Williams is another on the sidelines.
Andrew Kitchen will be in charge at the weekend. His last Cobblers game was our 1-0 win over Leyton Orient in November 2021. He’s shown 63 yellow cards and 2 reds this season. Mark Jones and Christopher Husband are running the lines and Darren Wilding is fourth official.
A lot depends on how Crewe set up with a fair amount hinging on the fitness of Ryan Finnigan. But if we can keep the momentum and fight from Tuesday night we can hopefully pick up another valuable three points. 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.