Match Preview: Northampton Town v Derby County

Northampton Town v Derby County

When the Cobblers trudged off the pitch at Pride Park earlier this season having just been hammered 4-0, a tough League One lesson learned, there was a sense of realism hitting for a side who had punched above their weight for the most part of the season. Jon Brady’s men had not been up to scratch while Derby were right back on their game after a wobbly spell in the few games beforehand. 
 
Fast forward a few months and the two teams have both found their way to a good season based on their realistic ambitions. The Cobblers have been safely sitting in mid-table for a while and The Rams having risen into the top two. They’re one of the form teams in the league and know that a victory on Saturday will give them a strong advantage over the chasing pack with no other team in the top five in action.
 
For the Cobblers, this is all about getting back into some kind of form ahead of the run-in. It’s been a fantastic season and it would be a shame to let it peter out in the last few weeks. A big atmosphere and lively away crowd should, at least, get the juices flowing once more.
 

The Opposition

Following that 4-0 win over the Cobblers, Derby’s season kicked into a focus that’s seen them lose just four times in the league since. Eight of the next nine League One games were won and The Rams had thrust themselves right back into the promotion race. 
 
County have shown a clinical edge throughout the season with the dangerous Nathaniel Mendez-Laing leading the line. But there’s also a solid base at the back with the excellent Eiran Cashin coming of age alongside the likes of Curtis Nelson and the evergreen Craig Forsyth. Last weekend’s win over Bolton was a prime example of a side digging in and throwing themselves on the line in a bid for promotion and they’re a much more dogged outfit than many may give them credit for.
 
At the helm is Paul Warne who has been there and done it before in terms of promotions from League One. He’s been divisive in his time in charge but County fans can’t argue with the results that have taken their side to second place coming into the weekend. Promotion is now well and truly in their hands with the chance to go seven points clear of the chasing pack a major motivation for Saturday.
 

Last Time Out

The Cobblers were beaten 2-0 at Wycombe last weekend while Derby were edging a promotion six-pointer with Bolton Wanderers 1-0 at Pride Park.

One To Watch

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing has been one of the players of the season in League One, scoring nine times, assisting fifteen and generally causing defenders up and down the league endless headaches. 

Mendez-Laing started his career at Wolves but made his name with that blue team from down the road. After spells at Rochdale, Cardiff, Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday he moved to Derby in the summer of 2022.

Team News

The Cobblers were handed a fresh injury problem this week with Patrick Brough ruled out for the immediate future after he tore his oblique muscle. Meanwhile, Keiron Bowie and Tony Springett are both away with Scotland and the Republic of Ireland Under 21s respectively so are likely to miss the game. Sam Hoskins, though, has recovered from illness and should be available again.
 
Derby will be without recent signing Dwight Gayle, who picked up a hamstring injury during last weekend’s win over Bolton. Josh Vickers and Max Bird are doubts while Tyreece John-Jules, Jake Rooney and Ryan Nyambe are missing long term. Conor Washington and Tyrese Fornah could come back into contention, though, with both back in full training.
 

Line-Up Prediction

Match Officials

Scott Oldham is in the middle on Saturday afternoon. Oldham was last in charge of a Cobblers game back in September when we were beaten 1-0 at Port Vale. Garry Maskell and Hugh Gilroy are running the lines and Michael Chard is fourth official.

Prediction

With the form Derby are in and the recent Cobblers performances, this feels like an away win all day long. I just can’t see us getting anything from this one, unfortunately. 3-1 Derby

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