Match Preview: Oxford United v Northampton Town

Oxford United v Northampton Town

It’s been less than a month since the Cobblers last took on Oxford United and Tyreece Simpson marked the start of his renaissance period with that header in stoppage time to win the game at Sixfields. It had been a fairly even affair but coming through such a test was another sign of intent for Town in a season where more and more individual memories are being forged by the week. 
 
The U’s came into that game off the back of recently appointing Des Buckingham and were still in a little bit of a transition but you could tell the way he wanted his team to play as they attempted to pass the ball around the Cobblers and play in a similar style to the one that got them into the playoff places in the first place. 
 
For the Cobblers, it was a landmark victory against a side chasing promotion and helped to ease fears of getting drawn back into a relegation battle. Those days of flirting with the bottom four seem like they’re long gone and we can head into games like this with confidence to go and play our own game. If we can come away with another result it would set things up very nicely for a busy week that sees us travel to Charlton on Tuesday night and host Shrewsbury next weekend.

 

The Opposition

Oxford came out of that Sixfields defeat wounded but made injury time their friend rather than their enemy on Boxing Day as Ciaron Brown scored in the 95th minute at the Kassam to seal victory over Cambridge United. A 3-2 defeat at home to Derby followed with United two up within thireen minutes of that game before the Rams stunned them with a dramatic comeback.
 
Victories at Charlton and Carlisle in their next two league games, though, have kept them right in the mix for both a playoff place and a shot at the top two in the second half of the season.
 
Buckingham has seen some of his loanees depart back to their parent clubs with Sonny Perkins recalled by Leeds having only played six times, Stanley Mills taken back to Everton with an injury and goalkeeper James Beadle recalled by Brighton to be farmed back out Championship side Sheffield Wednesday.
 
So a slight rebuild is in order with the keeper situation resolved already by new signing Jamie Cumming on loan from Chelsea. Cumming made his debut last weekend in the 3-1 win at Carlisle and comes with plenty of experience from previous loan spells away from Stamford Bridge.
 
This Oxford team, then, will have a fresh look about them to the one we faced in December so plenty for Jon Brady to ponder as we make the trip south.
 

Last Time Out

The Cobblers drew 1-1 at home with Wigan Athletic last weekend while Oxford came away from Carlisle United with a good 3-1 win.

One To Watch

Playing just behind the front line for the Us is the exciting Rúben Rodrigues. The Portuguese midfielder has the ability to turn a game in an instant and can produce moments of magic on his day.

Rodrigues joined Oxford from Notts County in the summer having helped them to promotion back to the Football League and has scored six times so far this season.

Team News

Oxford gave a debut to new loan signing Jamie Cumming in goal last weekend and he should start again. Winger Josh Murphy has been missing with a calf injury but could come back into the side while left back Greg Leigh is also pushing to start after recovering from injury to come off the bench at Brunton Park. Sam Long is another who could return but Ciaron Brown is out for a few months.

The Cobblers welcome new loan signings Tony Springett and Louie Moulden into the squad and both are likely to start from the bench. Jack Sowerby, Akin Odimayo and Danny Hylton all sat out of the draw with Wigan and are likely to miss out again while Sam Sherring, Ali Koiki and Ben Fox are long term absentees.

Line-Up Prediction

Match Officials

Thomas Kirk is charged with keeping order on Saturday. Kirk last officiated the Cobblers for our 1-1 draw at Hartlepool United last March. Mark Derrien and Richard Morris are running the lines and Jack Clench is the fourth official.

Prediction

I feel like this will be a much different prospect at the Kassam to the game at Sixfields and if we can come away with a point I’ll be very happy. 1-1

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