Match Preview: Northampton Town v Peterborough United

It’s time for the big one. 

When the fixtures dropped in mid-June, this was one of two games all Cobblers fans would have been looking for first, the other being the reverse fixture at London Road. The derby is back and back with fans for the first time since 2018 barring a forgettable EFL Trophy game in 2019.

There have been plenty of bad memories associated with this game with the Cobblers only coming out on top a couple of times since regular meetings took place in the eighties. Ian Sampson’s dramatic winner at London Road in December 2000 was our first derby victory since 1987 and the scenes that day will be remembered by all who crammed into the old Moys Terrace behind the goal to witness it. 

After a home win in 2002, Scott McGleish scored an away winner in 2006 but that was the last time we’ve come close to putting one over on our old rivals. 

Could someone new be about to write their own names into Cobblers history? Let’s do this!

The Opposition

Cobblers fans might just remind Posh about what happened back in May when they led Sheffield Wednesday 4-0 after the first leg of their League One Playoff Semi-Final. An incredible night at Hillsbrough saw Wednesday win 4-0 after 90 minutes, 5-1 after extra time and then win the penalty shootout to reach Wembley and, eventually, promotion. As Cobblers fans, there was no better ending to a season where we were joining our old rivals in League One and Wednesday’s celebrations were matched in this part of Northamptonshire and beyond by anyone with a Town persuasion!

As we know well and good, a dramatic end to the season will be talked about for the next twelve months at least but Posh have got the start they would have wanted after that playoff drama. A fixture list of Reading, Charlton and Barnsley looked daunting on paper but a summer clear out means that Darren Ferguson’s men have come into the campaign fresh and they’ve picked up nine points from nine in the league with 1-0 wins in the opening two games before a 3-1 win at Barnsley in midweek.

Ferguson, in his fourth spell with the club, signed a new deal over the summer and has been tasked with a rebuild of the club he’s got so much history with. The expectation is that this will be a transition season for the Posh but the way they’ve started seems to point to shackles being taken off and players playing with freedom.

With high intensity of pressing and overlapping full backs, Boro are as fluid as ever and we’ll need to get right in their faces from the off if we’re to upset the odds.

Last Time Out

The Cobblers came back from 2-0 down to dramatically draw 2-2 on Tuesday night against Lincoln City at Sixfields with Sam Hoskins equalising in the 98th minute of the game. Posh came from behind to make it three wins from three in the league as they beat Barnsley 3-1 at Oakwell.

One To Watch

Winger Ephron Mason-Clarke is attracting attention higher up the league ladder and causes all sorts of problems from the left hand side of the Posh attack.

Mason-Clarke took the well trodden path from Barnet to London Road in 2022 and starred with twelve goals and a host of assists to his name last season. He also hit the winning goal in their opening day win at Reading.

Team News

The Cobblers will still be without Ben Fox for another month while Danny Hylton and Tyler Magloire are long term absentees. Lee Burge is likely to be out for another month while Shaun McWilliams, Harvey Lintott and Ryan Haynes are all still missing as well.

Peterborough midfielder Jeando Fuchs will be missing with a knee injury that may require surgery and a significant spell on the sidelines. Goalkeeper Will Blackmore didn’t make the squad for the trip to Barnsley because of a hip injury but could return to the bench at the weekend.

Line-Up Prediction

Match Officials

Tasked with keeping order in the derby is Martin Woods who last took charge of the Cobblers on the opening day of last season and our 3-2 win over Colchester United. Christopher Ward and Stuart Kane are running the lines and Alan Cresswell is fourth official.

Prediction

Despite the odds being completely against the Cobblers, there’s no way I can predict a Posh win. I’m going for a 1-0 Cobblers win and more absolute scenes at Sixfields!

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