The Cobblers head to Port Vale on Saturday afternoon in what looks to be one of the toughest games left this season…
The Cobblers got the job done against fellow promotion hopefuls Newport County on Tuesday night and secured yet another 1-0 win with another set piece winner. With games coming thick and fast, getting back into the top three was crucial no matter how it came about but staying there may well be the bigger challenge.
Jon Brady’s switch to 3-5-2 has enabled new signings like Tyler Magloire, Louis Appere and Bez Lubala to fit into the side and Idris Kanu and Josh Eppiah are also chomping at the bit to make it into a larger role than that of impact subs. There’s no doubt that the energy and pace added to the squad in January can only improve us but we still need evidence of a sustainable attacking force to take us over the finish line.
Port Vale will be no mugs at all at the weekend and this one will be a huge challenge.
Port Vale sit in eighth place in League Two going into the weekend, a position they landed in right in the midst of the initial UK lockdown of 2020. On that occasion the Cobblers pipped them to the playoff places on PPG but, unlike our friends in blue down the road, took it graciously. The rest is history!
Since then, new owner Carol Shanahan has gone about refreshing the club in all departments while continuing to help managers keep up on the pitch. The latest incumbent is Darrell Clarke, poached from Walsall in 2021. Clarke oversaw a huge summer clear out and has kept the Valiants fighting at the right end of League Two.
Momentum is starting to build after a decent January transfer window and with games in hand of all of the top seven there’s a quiet confidence around that Vale could be ready to make that final step up to become genuine promotion challengers.,
Last time out
One to watch
He may have missed an absolute sitter during our last meeting but James Wilson has recovered to lead the goal scoring charts for Vale this season. The former Manchester United youngster has added work rate to his game in recent weeks and will be looking to help to feed ex Cobblers loanee Ryan Edmondson up top.
Port Vale trio Jamie Proctor, Tom Conlon and James Gibbons are nearing a comeback but Darrell Clarke could stick with the same lineup as the one on Tuesday night.
The Cobblers picked up a few niggles in midweek and could be without Aaron McGowan and Jack Sowerby again after both missed the Newport win. Manager Jon Brady picked up his fourth booking of the season on Tuesday night and will be forced away from the touchline as he looks to mark a year in the job with a victory at Vale Park.
The Cobblers last met Vale on the opening day of the season when Benny-Ashley Seal’s goal earned us all three points. A rush of blood to the head saw visiting keeper Lucas Covolan get sent off on his debut in the second half and Town held out to start the season well.
Line-up Prediction – Powered by FanHub
Alan Young is in charge on Saturday, who you may remember from his handling of the Leyton Orient away game a couple of years ago as he showed a red card for each team. Since then he’s overseen a 2-0 home defeat to Hull at Sixfields. Richard Morris and Oliver Bickle are running the line on Saturday with Joe Clark is fourth official.
Charles: Port Vale 0-1 Cobblers
Danny: Port Vale 1-1 Cobblers
Neil: Port Vale 9-9 Cobblers
Jefe: Port Vale 1-2 Cobblers
We were joined this week by Jonny Hancock from the Ale and the Vale podcast as we looked ahead to the weekend’s game:
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.