Match Preview: Northampton Town v Exeter City

Northampton Town v Exeter City

The final home game of the season is upon us and the Cobblers host Exeter City on Saturday hoping to create a Sixfields send off worthy of what’s been an outstanding achievement over the last nine months. Jon Brady’s side have surpassed any expectation set back in August and to come into this game essentially in a battle for a place in the top half is something no-one really thought possible.
 
Last weekend’s defeat at Fleetwood was as flat as it’s been this season but Saturday should be more open with the way Exeter play. The Grecians are on an eight game unbeaten run and come into Saturday in high spirits as they look to round off an excellent second half of the season.
 
There should be emotional home farewells for the likes of Kieron Bowie and Marc Leonard with both certain to be playing elsewhere come next season while others may well also be playing at Sixfields for the final time in a Cobblers shirt. Plenty still to play for, then, as we head to Sixfields one last time before the summer.
 

The Opposition

Having made a strong start to the season, the Cobblers’ win at St James’ Park in September was the second in a six game losing run for Exeter. That run would end up turning into a full scale disaster as the Grecians went thirteen games without a win up to Boxing Day and a 1-0 home victory over Wycombe. 
 
Through all of the poor results, including a 7-0 hammering at Bolton, there was no panic in terms of manager Gary Caldwell’s role, though, and where some clubs would have acted and sent the main man packing, City took a different view and saw a bigger picture that ended up coming to fruition in the second half of the campaign. 
 
An influx of solid signings in January helped Caldwell to push home his style and results started to turn. Good wins on the road at the likes of Bristol Rovers, Barnsley, Wigan, Shrewsbury and Cheltenham along with improving home form has dragged them away from any danger and they come into Saturday with every chance of claiming a top half finish. 
 
Last weekend’s comeback win over Port Vale showed a determination to not let the season fall away now they’re safe and this will be a completely different City side to the one we faced down in Devon. Their mid-table finish is a victory for that rare thing in football – patience with a manager.
 

Last Time Out

The Cobblers were beaten 2-0 at Fleetwood last weekend while Exeter came from two down to beat Port Vale 4-2 away from home.

One To Watch

Since signing on loan from Hull City in January, Ryan Woods has been a revelation in the middle of the park for Exeter. Providing balance to match Reece Cole’s creativity, Woods has slotted into Gary Caldwell’s system smoothly and City fans are hopeful that he’ll return next season.

Woods spent the first half of the season with Bristol Rovers but his spell at Exeter has been far more fruitful and has helped the Grecians turn around a torrid first half of the campaign.

Team News

The Cobblers have reported no fresh injuries ahead of the weekend with the only question being whether Tyler Magloire will be given any minutes before the end of the season.
 
Exeter also have no new injury news ahead of the weekend with a near fully fit squad ready to go. The one definite absentee is Demetri Mitchell, who has been out since November with a knee injury.
 

Line-Up Prediction

Match Officials

The Cobblers will be refereed by Ruebyn Ricardo for the first time on Saturday. Danny Guest and Adrian Tranter are running the lines and Craig Hicks is fourth official.

Prediction

There should be some kind of reaction from the Cobblers in the final home game of the season and I’m backing Jon Brady’s side to pull out a win and halt Exeter’s unbeaten run. 2-1 Cobblers.

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