Match Preview: Northampton Town v Fleetwood Town

Northampton Town v Fleetwood Town: League One

It’s back to Sixfields again this weekend for the third Saturday home game in a row with struggling Fleetwood coming to town desperate for a win and a performance to lift them out of a worrying slump.
 
For Jon Brady, this will all be about picking up a win over a relegation rival ahead of a busy and difficult Christmas period. After Fleetwood and Carlisle comes a relentless run of Oxford, Stevenage and Lincoln all within a week of one another so it’s vital that we rack up more points in the next seven days.
 
The Portsmouth defeat last time out was almost a free hit but the Cobblers will still be looking at themselves and thinking they could have done better defensively and in certain moments. We need to be fully on it from the off to try and catch the Cod Army with an early flurry that may be enough to dent their low confidence further. 
 
With the festive season officially kicking off, this feels like a big one.
 

The Opposition

Fleetwood are now in their tenth season in a row in League One and have a record of survival to be proud of. Since winning the League Two playoffs in 2014, they’ve established themselves and had a couple of shots at the top six but the number one goal is generally to make sure they reach 50 points and safety.
 
Scott Brown achieved that task and so much more last season with a league finish of thirteenth and an unprecedented run to the fifth round of the FA Cup but this season saw his side start slowly and, despite signing a new contract in the summer, Brown was shown the door.
 
In came former Bristol City boss Lee Johnson, son of ex-Cobblers manager Gary, to try and turn the ship around. Initially, Johnson had the desired impact but the last four games has seen them lose four times, concede thirteen goals and look a ghost of the side that kicked off his reign. 
 
The new boss is desperate to get through to January and recently bemoaned the fact that he’s given some players four or five chances to prove themselves. All is not a happy camp at the moment and ahead of games with Peterborough and Portsmouth in the next couple of weeks, this is a side in real need of both a performance and a result before they face those daunting tasks.
 

Last Time Out

The Cobblers were beaten 3-0 at home by Portsmouth last weekend while Fleetwood lost out 4-0 in the FA Cup Second Round at Cambridge. On Tuesday night, they were knocked out of the EFL Trophy, losing 3-0 at Derby County.

One To Watch

Leading the line for the Cod Army is former Peterborough man Jack Marriott. Marriott signed for the club in January of this year for a reported £250,000 and scored eight times in the second half of last season.

Marriott, previously of Derby, Posh, Ipswich and Luton, is their top scorer this season with five and has quality on a higher level than most around him in the League One relegation dog fight. 

Team News

The Cobblers gave Jon Guthrie more minutes last weekend as the defender came off the bench to play in the second half so he will be pushing for a start while Akin Odimayo returns from suspension. Goalkeeper Lee Burge remains a major doubt with Max Thompson set to deputise again. Ali Koiki, Ben Fox, Danny Hylton and Tyler Magloire are long term absentees.

Fleetwood will be without the suspended Josh Earl, who was sent off in a recent defeat at Wigan while Shaun Rooney is a doubt. Apart from that, though, the Cod Army have no new injury worries coming into the game.

Line-Up Prediction

Match Officials

Marc Edwards is in the middle on Saturday having last officiated the Cobblers in our 2-1 home defeat by Bradford City back in April. Chris Wade and James Vallance are running the lines and Marc Jones is the fourth official.

Prediction

Fleetwood are leaking goals left, right and centre at the moment but they desperately need a result with some of the fixtures coming up. I think we can win this one, though, and I’m going for a ding dong 3-2 Cobblers success. 

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