The Cobblers take a break from some rip roaring league form this weekend as we head into the First Round of the FA Cup, looking to cause a minor upset against League One side Cambridge United.
It’s FA Cup First Round weekend and there’s a sense of optimism in the air as the Cobblers get set to host Cambridge United at Sixfields. A minor dent to our recent form – a Pizza Cup defeat in midweek – won’t have had too much impact on Jon Brady’s men with plenty of youngsters given a run out and there’s bound to be a lot more importance placed on the FA Cup as Mark Bonner’s Cambridge come to town.
The cup has provided us with plenty of highlights and a fair few desperate days in the past but this one should be one where we can let loose a little and really go for the juggler without precious league points hanging in the balance. With both sides going through decent recent runs there’s every chance that this could even be a good, old fashioned ding dong!
Let’s get in that hat!
Cambridge were promoted from League Two last season as they finished in second place, secured by a 3-0 home win over Grimsby Town on the final day of the season. Since then, they’ve lost Paul Mullin, scorer of over thirty goals last season, to the Hollywood project at Wrexham but have stabilised themselves well following a recent barren run.
Bonner’s men were without a win in seven games going into last weekend but a 1-0 home win over AFC Wimbledon thanks to a superb long range header from Jensen Weir and an excellent 2-0 victory at Morecambe in midweek has lifted them back into the top ten in League One. Joe Ironside has been attempting to fill the gap left by Mullin in the summer and he scored his seventh of the season on Tuesday night.
The U’s best recent memory in the FA Cup saw them hold Manchester United to a 0-0 draw in the 2015 Fourth Round before valiantly bowing out eventually in the replay at Old Trafford. Bonner will be hoping to start his own memorable run this weekend.
Last time out
The Cobblers’ last league match was the 3-0 success over Carlisle United last weekend but a youthful outfit were beaten by Brighton’s Under 21s on Tuesday night in the Papa Johns Trophy. Cambridge were in league action in midweek, seeing off Morecambe 2-0 at the Mazuma Stadium.
One to watch
He may be 39 but Wes Hoolahan can still be a class above most at this level. Hoolahan’s minutes have been managed so far this season and he’s only been playing on Saturdays so he could be a difference maker. Former Cobbler Lloyd Jones could feature if he can shake off an injury that kept him out of the Morecambe win.
The Cobblers look likely to still be without Aaron McGowan and the game may also come too soon for Dylan Connolly, who has missed the last two games with Covid. Jon Brady spoke of a bug that’s run through the camp this week so there may be others yet to be named who could also miss out.
Cambridge will be hoping to welcome back Lloyd Jones from injury and fellow defender George Williams should be back in the squad after serving a one match ban on Tuesday night. Greg Taylor is a long term absentee for the U’s and Liam O’Neill is still missing with a hamstring injury.
The last competitive game between the two sides was a 2-0 home win for the Cobblers in October 2019. Harry Smith put the Cobblers in front before George Taft scored an own goal in first half stoppage time to give Town the win.
Taking charge of this one is Martin Coy who last refereed the Cobblers up at Fleetwood Town back in January’s 0-0 draw.
Charles: Cobblers 2-1 Cambridge
Danny: Cobblers 1-1 Cambridge
Neil: Cobblers 9-9 Cambridge
Jefe: Cobblers 4-0 Cambridge