The Cobblers head north in a bid to halt the recent slump in form in league and cup. Laying in wait, though, are a Bradford side that never usually give us much of a chance at Valley Parade.
Tuesday night’s defeat at Cambridge, following the poor showing at Bristol Rovers at the weekend, was another frustrating ninety minutes for Jon Brady and the travelling Cobblers fans. Town threatened a lot more at the Abbey than at the Memorial Stadium but unusual lapses at the back cost us once again. Cutting out those errors and the ease in which opponents can sometimes cut through the defensive lines should be a priority for Brady as we face another tough test at the weekend.
Bradford isn’t near the top of many people’s lists of places you want to go when trying to turn form around and that’s especially true for the Cobblers. Only once in the last eight trips to Valley Parade in league and cup have the Cobblers returned home victorious – though that single win was as recently as 2018.
The Bantams will always be associated with the darkest playoff experience and that dreadful trip to Wembley in 2013 leading to a constant shiver down the spine whenever the two sides meet. This particular jaunt north promises to be no easy ride either with Derek Adams slowly putting his mark on the biggest sleeping giant in League Two and over 14,000 expected at the game.
Bradford are undoubtedly a massive dog in the League Two kennel but this is now their third consecutive season back in the basement division. Attempting to add another promotion to an already strong CV is Derek Adams, who joined in the summer, with the former Ross County and Plymouth man hot off the heels of masterminding Morecambe ‘s rise to League One last season.
Adams’ new side were naturally among the favourites for promotion this season but it’s not gone completely to plan so far. After taking ten points from their opening four games, City won just one of their next nine matches in the league. An excellent victory at Swindon in October followed by taking points from the top two, Forest Green and Port Vale, has Adams’ men looking dangerous coming into the clash with the Cobblers despite that midweek defeat to Exeter in the cup.
Last time out
Both Bradford and the Cobblers were beaten on Tuesday night in FA Cup First Round replays. The Bantams went all the way to extra time at Exeter but conceded three times in that period to lose 3-0. The game will, though, have to be played again after Exeter made one more substitution than allowed. The Cobblers went out of the competition with a 3-1 defeat at Cambridge United.
One to watch
Abo Eisa is a man who has caused us many problems over the year and the front man is just coming back from an injury that’s dogged him since arrived in the summer from Scunthorpe United. If Eisa finds his way into the starting eleven for the first time he’s more than likely to torment us once again.
Bradford leading scorer Andy Cook faces up to a month on the sidelines after picking up a hamstring injury. The striker has scored seven times already this season and will be a big miss for Derek Adams’ men. Lee Angol was sent off during the FA Cup replay on Tuesday night and faces a suspension for Saturday and Adams will check on the fitness of Paudie O’Connor, Levi Sutton and Yann Songo after all three were struggling towards the end of that game.
The Cobblers will be without Michael Harriman after the right back cracked a rib during Tuesday night’s replay at Cambridge but Aaron McGowan should be back in line for a return. Jack Sowerby is being nursed back to health and could be back in time for Saturday but Sid Nelson and Joseph Mills are still long term absentees.
Charlie Goode put the Cobblers in front in our last visit to Valley Parade but late goals from Clayton Donaldson and Paudie O’ Connor meant that we came home pointless. Lockdown and the season curtailing meant that we never had a return game at Sixfields.
Line-up Prediction – Powered by FanHub
Carl Boyeson takes charge on Saturday at Valley Parade. His last Cobblers game was the 3-1 home win over Gillingham last December. Robert Atkin and Paul Newhouse are running the line with Declan Bourne the identity of the fourth official.
Charles: Bradford 2-0 Cobblers
Danny: Bradford 3-1 Cobblers
Neil: Bradford 4-0 Cobblers
Jefe: Bradford 1-1 Cobblers