After a ten day break, the Cobblers are back at it with a trip to fellow high flyers Exeter City.
It’s a top of the table clash on Tuesday evening as The Cobblers make the trip to Exeter City. Third plays second in League Two and this could be a big moment in both sides’ seasons. Though it obviously won’t be defining it may give both managers an idea of where their respective sides are at ahead of a busy December.
The clubs will forever be linked thanks to that incredible lockdown playoff final but now that both the Grecians and the Cobblers are back battling it out for promotion once again we’re on an even keel. With six games coming up in the next month, we’ll be coming out the other side more than half way through the season.
Game number twenty of the campaign, then, is all set to be a crucial one. Can the Cobblers continue to hold their own among the leading lights in League Two? If we come away from St James’ Park with three points everyone will surely start to believe.
After losing at Wembley to the Cobblers, Exeter had a season of transition in 2020/21, finishing ninth as they rebuilt from that disappointment. The trust in Matt Taylor remained, though, and this season they’ve started brilliantly with a fifteen game unbeaten league run between August and November pushing them right into the mix for a shot at promotion come May.
That run ended a couple of weeks ago as City were beaten 3-1 at Leyton Orient but they’re still yet to lose at home in the league since 13 March. St James’ Park is one of the biggest fortresses in the bottom two divisions with that loss to Cheltenham one of only two losses at home in 2021.
So the challenge for Town is clear as we head south on Tuesday evening. Coming home with any kind of win would be a real statement of intent.
Last time out
The Cobblers’s last game was the 1-0 win over Leyton Orient ten days ago. Exeter have played twice since then. both in the FA Cup. First, a replayed replay saw them finally see off Bradford in Round One before they were beaten 2-1 at the Cobblers’ conquerers Cambridge United on Saturday.
One to watch
In the absence of Sam Nombe, City will be even more reliant on ten goal striker Matt Jay who hit eighteen goals last season and has already reached double figures this time out.
The Cobblers have been hit by the news that defender Dominic Revan will be out until the New Year with a thigh injury. Michael Harriman is out with a rib injury and Sid Nelson is a long term absentee. Jon Brady will assess the fitness of Kion Etete after the striker came off in the win over Orient but Jon Guthrie should return to the side. Shaun McWilliams returns after a one match ban.
Exeter will be without striker Sam Nombe after he came off with a hamstring injury during Saturday’s FA Cup defeat to Cambridge. Tim Dieng is also missing after picking up a quad injury.
The Cobblers progressed in the Pizza Cup in our last game against Exeter. Danny Rose gave us the lead before Nigel Atangana equalised. But Benny Ashley-Seal won it for Town with eight minutes to go to send us through.
Line-up Prediction – Powered by FanHub
John Busby is the referee for this one. His last Cobblers game saw him send Joe Martin off as we lost 2-1 at Crewe around a year ago. Mark Pottage and Mark Russell are running the lines and Craig Cox is fourth official.
Charles: Exeter 1-1 Cobblers
Danny: Exeter 0-1 Cobblers
Neil: Exeter 9-9 Cobblers
Jefe: Exeter 3-3 Cobblers