Match Preview: Northampton Town v Shrewsbury Town

Northampton Town v Shrewsbury Town

After a memorable away win on Tuesday night at The Valley, the Cobblers return to Sixfields bouncing on Saturday for a home game against Shrewsbury Town. Tyreece Simpson, Sam Hoskins and Louie Appere gave us a ding dong win down in London and for the ninth time this season the Cobblers scored a goal after the 90th minute.
 
That points to a steely determination, peak fitness levels and a freedom to go for games right to the end. We certainly saw all of that on Tuesday as we rose back to ninth place in League One and took another giant leap towards avoiding a relegation scrap that seems more distant by the week. Ten more points should officially secure safety but the fact that it’s not even a discussion shows what a superb season it’s been.
 
Jon Brady has signed a new contract, there was a digger behind the East Stand and we’re well in the top half of the third tier – the good news keeps on coming and we look to build on that further on Saturday with a visit from a team who have dropped into that dog fight in recent weeks and who made the call to sack their manager last weekend.

 

The Opposition

 
Back in October, the Cobblers visited the New Meadow with the hosts, even then, murmering discontent about manager Matt Taylor. The former Cobblers midfielder hadn’t been endearing himself to Shrews fans with his brand of football and there was a bit of talk that defeat against us could cost him even that early in the campaign.
 
As it was, Sam Hoskins missed a penalty before Daniel Udoh scored a stoppage time winner for our hosts and Taylor lived to fight another day. Four points from their next two games had them safely in mid-table but form again dropped with four defeats in their following five. Important wins over Reading, Port Vale and Wycombe gave Taylor some relief but, again, results turned. Four straight losses in December took the Shrews down the table at an alarming pace and, after defeat at that blue lot from down the road last weekend, the powers that be ended his reign.
 
So the Shrews have gone back to the drawing board and re-appointed the popular Paul Hurst. Hurst previously led them from a relegation battle to the brink of the Championship in 2018 – they finished third and were beaten by Rotherham United in the League One playoff final – and also took them to Wembley for the EFL Trophy Final in the same season. 
 
The appointment has energised the fans and a party atmosphere is expected on Saturday. Ticket sales have rocketed for the away end to welcome Hurst back to the club and this is now a much tougher prospect for the Cobblers than it was a week ago.
 

Last Time Out

The Cobblers beat Charlton Athletic 3-2 on Tuesday night at The Valley while Shrewsbury’s last outing was the 2-1 defeat at Peterborough last weekend.

One To Watch

Dan Udoh is joint top scorer for the Shrews this season and netted the winner in our last meeting back in October.

The Nigerian forward came through the youth systems at Luton and Stevenage before spending a lot of time on loan from Kidderminster and Crewe at non-league clubs. Udoh spent one season at Telford where he scored nineteen goals before making the move to the New Meadow in 2019.

Team News

The Cobblers will check on the walking wounded from Tuesday night with Shaun McWilliams and Jordan Willis both coming off during the game. Jack Sowerby, Danny Hylton and Akin Odimayo are doubts again but Jon Brady didn’t have too many updates ahead of the weekend. 
 
Shrewsbury could still be without Marko Marosi, who missed the Peterborough game with a hamstring problem while Elliot Bennett is another who will be checked on after a recent calf issue. Dan Udoh stands a chance of being involved again after a sustained spell on the sidelines but Tom Flanagan is still not back and George Nurse is unlikely to be back again this season.
 

Line-Up Prediction

Match Officials

Seb Stockbridge is in charge of Saturday’s game. Stockbridge last oversaw a Cobblers game back in April of last year when we beat Harrogate Town 3-1 at Sixfields. Andy Bennett and Alan Cresswell are running the lines and Damith Bandara is fourth official.

Prediction

This has become a lot trickier over the last few days with a welcome party set to take place for Paul Hurst. I think he”ll have his players up for it so I’ll go for a 1-1 draw.

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