Three draws and three disappointing performances have stalled the Cobblers in our attempts to claw our way back into the top three. Thankfully, our direct rivals are also having issues and there’s still hope that a couple of decent results can be put together to revitalise our season. That needs to start with this weekend’s visit of a side having an inconsistent start to their time back in the Football League but a stunning run in the FA Cup.
Grimsby come into Saturday off the back of a couple of defeats – at home to Colchester last weekend and away at Gillingham on Tuesday night – and will be looking for a similar kind of lift that we need. The Mariners initially found their feet well back in League Two including a draw against the Cobblers in August that could easily have been a win on another day. But since then, Paul Hurst’s side have only won five times in the league with the FA Cup providing a different kind of distraction.
League One high flyers Plymouth were incredibly swept aside 5-1 in the First Round before victories over Cambridge United and Burton Albion took them into Round Four. An excellent 2-2 draw at Championship side Luton was followed up by a memorable night at Blundell Park where the Mariners saw them off 3-0 to earn a trip to Southampton in Round Five.
Such is the difference between their league and cup form, it’s hard to know what to expect on Saturday but one thing is for sure – both sides could do with all three points to get themselves back into gear.
Last Time Out
The Cobblers were held to a 0-0 draw by AFC Wimbledon at Sixfields on Tuesday night while Grimsby were beaten by Gillingham 2-1 at The Priestfield Stadium.
One To Watch
After signing for Luton Town back in August, John McAtee was loaned straight back to Grimsby and though, partly due to injury, he’s not quite hit the heights of last season, he’s still someone who can turn a game in an instant for the Mariners.
The Cobblers could be without more of their squad for this weekend with former Grimsby man Ben Fox the latest to suffer after coming off the pitch on Tuesday night with a concerning looking injury. Shaun McWilliams was also forced off so it’s likely that loanee Will Hondermark will be called upon to bolster the midfield options. Aaron McGowan is close to a return but Lee Burge, Danny Hylton, Kieron Bowie, Akin Odimayo and Ryan Haynes are still doubts.
Grimsby will once again be without midfielder Kieran Green who suffered cracked ribs during the FA Cup replay with Luton while Ryan Taylor has been out long term and Otis Khan still may not be ready to come back into the fray.
Simon Mather is charged with keeping order for this one. Mather last officiated a Cobblers game last April as we drew 1-1 with Exeter at Sixfields and has shown ninety eight yellow cards and three reds this season. Adrian Tranter and Steven Plane are running the lines and Ryan Whitaker is fourth official.
Emotions ran high following Tuesday night’s draw and we desperately need a win here. It’ll be another tense afternoon but I’m trying again with my 1-0 to the Cobblers prediction!
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.