It’s a big clash at Sixfields on Saturday afternoon as Jon Brady’s fourth placed Cobblers host a Leyton Orient side who are also among the front runners at the top of League Two.
It was a strange old game in midweek as the Cobblers saw off Keith Curle’s Oldham and, subsequently, his job with Town producing a dominant first half before having to hold on for dear life in the second. It perhaps showed both sides of this current squad – a good first eleven but one that, when they tire, you struggle to identify where and how we can change things from the bench.
Three points are three points, though, and Jon Brady’s side continue to hold on to a solid position just outside the top three, something that we would all have absolutely taken at this stage of the season. Next up is a big test at Sixfields with a Leyton Orient side gunning for promotion themselves in town, bringing with them a hugely experienced chief and a striker who will be looking to show us all what we’ve been missing.
It’s fourth v eighth in League Two and this should be a great barometer of where we’re at going into the busy Christmas period.
After an eleventh place finish last season, Orient made a statement by recruiting the experienced Kenny Jackett for their top job, immediately placing themselves in the conversation for making the step up into the promotion contenders’ pack.
So far, Jackett’s new charges have been the draw specialists of League Two with ten of their eighteen game ending all square. When they do win a game, though, they win in style with victories including a 3-0 over Exeter, 4-0 against Oldham, 5-0 against Hartlepool and 4-1 over Sutton United among their successes.
Leading the line are Aaron Drinen, a summer signing from Ipswich, and a certain Harry Smith. They’ve smashed in nineteen goals between them in all competitions so Fraser Horsfall and Jon Guthrie won’t be in for a quiet afternoon. At the other end, only three teams have conceded less than the O’s in the league…one of those being the Cobblers.
Last time out
The Cobblers held on to beat Oldham Athletic on Tuesday night as first half goals from Jon Guthrie and Kion Etete were enough to seal the three points and take us up to fourth in League Two. Meanwhile, Orient’s momentum was slightly halted by a draw at bottom club Scunthorpe United.
One to watch
Harry Smith returns to Sixfields off the back of a superb start to his O’s career.Smith joined Orient from the Cobblers in the summer and has hit the ground running with nine goals to his name already, topping his best ever return for a season even before we reach the half way mark of the campaign.
The Cobblers will definitely be without Shaun McWilliams after the midfielder picked up his fifth booking of the season during a scuffle after the final whistle on Tuesday night.
Leyton Orient almost have a completely clean bill of health in the squad but Jackett will assess everyone after the exertions on Tuesday night. Craig Clay rolled his ankle slightly during that game and could be a doubt but Callum Reilly is definitely missing. Tyrese Omotoye is on his way back but may not be risked for the weekend.
Ryan Watson put the Cobblers in front at Brisbane Road but Orient grabbed a point late on thanks to a Josh Wright penalty. A late brawl ended with both teams ending the game with ten men as Scott Wharton and James Dayton were both given their marching orders.
Line-up Prediction – Powered by FanHub
Andrew Kitchen takes charge of this one and it will be the first time he’s refereed a Cobblers game having been promoted to the Football League officials list this summer. Grant Taylor and Kevin Morris take the flags and Michael Chard is fourth official.
Charles: Cobblers 2-1 Orient
Danny: Cobblers 2-2 Orient
Neil: Cobblers 9-9 Orient
Jefe: Cobblers 2-0 Orient