The first two league games of the Cobblers’ season have produced some promising football, some gradual improvements and plenty of signs that promotion from League Two won’t follow the usual pattern of things turning into a relegation battle soon after.
One thing that has been missing, crucially, though is a point or three to show for our efforts. Against Stevenage we should have been in front before tiring and conceding and then a classy looking Wigan side produced a moment of magic to edge us out at the DW Stadium on Saturday.
So Tuesday night takes on a real significance for Town as we look to avoid going into Saturday’s derby without anything on the points tally. Lincoln City, once a regular opponent in the basement, have reinvented themselves over the last few seasons and will be another very different kind of test for Jon Brady’s side.
Lincoln have established themselves at League One level since winning the League Two title in 2019. The Imps are a blueprint of how to win promotion and firm up a place in the third tier and are one of the clubs the Cobblers would be happy to emulate in the coming years.
Mark Kennedy’s second season in charge saw City finish in an encouraging eleventh place in the table and they may well be a dark horse for having a real go at least the playoffs this time around.
Summer recruitment has been positive with the arrival on a free transfer of Tyler Walker a real statement of intent. Walker spent the 2019/20 season on loan at Sincil Bank and scored fourteen goals before returning to parent club at the time Nottingham Forest. Reeco Hackett-Fairchild is another clever signing from Portsmouth while Jaden Brown and Ethan Hamilton bring League One experience from Sheffield Wednesday and Accrington respectively.
Building on a squad that already contains the likes of Ben House and Ethan Erhahon means that City are more than ready to build on solid foundations. With Kennedy also firmly getting his ideas across too, this looks likely to be a big challenge for the Cobblers on Tuesday night.
Kennedy has been level headed about his side’s 3-0 defeat on the opening day and about the subsequent 3-0 win on Saturday and the Imps will set up to try and win the game.
But if the Cobblers are indeed to follow their lead we need to be picking points up very soon indeed.
Last Time Out
The Cobblers were beaten at Wigan on Saturday having gone a goal up through Sam Hoskins’s free kick. Lincoln bounced back from defeat on the opening day to win 3-0 at home against Wycombe Wanderers.
One To Watch
Danny Mandriou was the chief tormentor of Wycombe at the weekend with the Irishman creating two goals and scoring the other in a superb individual performance from midfield.
Mandriou moved to England in 2015 and joined up with the Brighton academy before moving back to his country of birth for spells with Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers. His performances caught the attention of his fellow countryman, Mark Kennedy who had just been appointed Lincoln boss, in July 2022, and he scored six times last season.
The Cobblers will still be without Ben Fox for another month while Danny Hylton and Tyler Magloire are also long term absentees. Lee Burge is the latest addition to the injured list with Max Thompson set to deputise in goal again. Shaun McWilliams, Harvey Lintott and Ryan Haynes all missed the weekend and are unlikely to be ready yet.
Lincoln are definitely without defender Lewis Montsma, who has suffered a second ACL injury since joining the club in 2020. Fellow defender Adam Jackson is also unlikely to return after he missed the weekend game. Lasse Sorensen is a doubt after he was forced off during the 3-0 win over Wycombe on Saturday with new loan signing Jack Burroughs ready to come in for him.
Ollie Yates will be in the middle on Tuesday night. Yates sent off Ben Fox in his last game involving the Cobblers for last October’s 0-0 draw at Leyton Orient. James Vallance and Samuel Fudge are running the lines and Craig Hicks is fourth official.
The Cobblers desperately need to turn some of the promising passages of play into points in the league, especially with the derby coming up on Saturday. I’m backing us to get our first point of the season in a 1-1 draw.
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.