The Cobblers are back in league action this weekend looking to add to four straight League Two wins without conceding a goal. In our way is a Bristol Rovers side who can’t seem to properly get going under the stewardship of one Joey Barton. This should be tasty!
As the autumn months kick in and the hectic Christmas period looms on the horizon, neither the Cobblers or Saturday’s opponents Bristol Rovers are likely to be jumping for joy at the prospect of an FA Cup replay on Tuesday night. But the way in which we both got there will provide plenty of positives as both sides took League One opposition to a 2-2 draw at the weekend.
There’s plenty of history between the sides that make the hairs stand up on the back of our claret necks or send shivers running down our spines. Whether it be the good (THAT playoff semi final, the 2-2 draw that secured the class of 2016 promotion), the bad (the 6-0 demolition at Sixfields, the 5-0 reign ending loss for Rob Page) or the ugly (a terrible 0-0 draw in 2014 featuring Emile Sinclair and Alan Connell)
So there’s usually a sense that anything can happen between these two sides and we’ll be keeping a close eye on the touchline too as Jon Brady coming up against Joey Barton could produce some week-late fireworks!
After finishing bottom of League One last season, a major overhaul was needed by Rovers as they, like the Cobblers, looked to bounce back at the first attempt. A total of 21 players were either released or sold in the summer and the clubs’ hierarchy stuck with Barton in a bid to provide some stability.
It’s not been plain sailing so far for the former Manchester City, Newcastle United and QPR midfielder with his side promising to kick start their season on a number of occasions only to take a step back as soon as they do so. A recent case in point was following up an excellent 3-0 home win over Carlisle and decent away points at Bradford and Colchester by succumbing to a 3-1 home defeat to Newport County,
The more encouraging signs were back in last weekend’s draw at League One Oxford, though, and it’s fair to say that a lot may depend on which Gas side turns up as to whether we’ll be bringing home another win to add to the growing collection.
Last time out
One to watch
Former Everton youth teamer Anthony Evans is the man who likes to make things happen for the Gas and his deliveries from set pieces can cause all kinds of problems. Evans spent a season with SC Paderborn in Germany last season before making the move to The Memorial Stadium. He scored the crucial equaliser from the spot last weekend to earn his team a replay with Oxford.
The Cobblers are waiting on the fitness of right back Aaron McGowan who missed out on the FA Cup game with Cambridge after pulling up with injury in the League Two clash with Carlisle. There’s also an illness bug roaming around the club with one unnamed player forced off the bench to go home last weekend and another, who started the game, picking it up as well. Jonathan Maxted, Sid Nelson and Joseph Mills are still long term absentees.
Bristol Rovers will be without top scorer Brett Pitman who hobbled off during their last league game at Harrogate with a groin injury. Leon Clarke and Harvey Saunders are also missing with hamstring and ankle ligament problems respectively while Junior Brown, Anssi Jaakkola, Alex Rodman and former Cobbler Mark Hughes are still out. Winger Luke Thomas could return to the side, though, after missing the FA Cup tie with a toe injury.
With both sides struggling in League One, Luke Leahy put Rovers in front at Sixfields before a late Sam Hoskins penalty earned a point for the Cobblers.
Line-up Prediction – Powered by FanHub
Refereeing this one is Sam Allison who last took charge of a Cobblers game in April when that blue team from down the road beat us 3-1 at London Road.
Charles: Bristol Rovers 0-2 Cobblers
Danny: Bristol Rovers 1-1 Cobblers
Neil: Bristol Rovers 1-12 Cobblers
Jefe: Bristol Rovers 0-5 Cobblers
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.