Rochdale are the Cobblers’ hosts on Saturday afternoon with Town hoping for an improvement on a disappointing Tuesday night outing…
Tuesday night was a strange one for Cobblers fans. On the one hand, Town lifted themselves to second in League Two but on the other it was nowhere near the standard of performance that we come to expect from a promotion chasing side. Bottom club Scunthorpe gave us problems and we only really came alive on the introduction of Josh Eppiah and Benny Ashley-Seal from the bench.
Midfield was also a major issue and the question of how to replace the injured Jack Sowerby and suspended Shaun McWilliams wasn’t answered well enough. Scott Pollock reportedly came in for some criticism after the game from Jon Brady regarding his non-involvement but there’s hope that those gaps could be plugged back up again for our next jaunt north on Saturday.
Rochdale handed us our first defeat of the season back in August and will be desperate to not be dragged into a relegation battle so this looks another very tricky outing for Brady’s men.
After being relegated alongside the Cobblers back in April, there’s been another rebuild at Spotland with events off the pitch overshadowing anything on it. A so called “hostile takeover” has provided a backdrop to a campaign on the pitch where ‘Dale have struggled to get any kind of consistent run going.
Brian Barry-Murphy resigned as manager in the summer and his place was taken by Robbie Stockdale. A first job as a manager has provided mixed results for the ex Middlesbrough defender with draws being the main thing holding them back – Dale have had fourteen stalemates so far this season, the most in League Two.
Coming into this one on the back of five draws in seven (the one win coming over the bottom club Scunthorpe and the one defeat coming against top club Forest Green Rovers) that doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. It also means it’s hard to predict what kind of side we’re facing on another big weekend for the Cobblers.
Last time out
One to watch
Tahvon Campbell was a reported target for the Cobblers during the January transfer window before the striker ended up at Spotland. Campbell hit thirteen goals for Woking earlier this season and has been trusted to fill the boots of the departed Jake Beesley, who joined Blackpool during the same window.
Rochdale midfielder Jimmy Keohane could make a return after three months out with a broken bone in his foot. Keohane was on the bench in midweek but is pushing for a start. A couple of unnamed players were playing through illness on Tuesday night but manager Robbie Stockdale is hopeful that it’s now behind them. Loanee Josh Andrews is still out with an ankle injury, though.
The Cobblers welcome back Shaun McWilliams after his two game suspension but are likely to still be without the injured Jack Sowerby and Louis Appere. Josh Eppiah returned from a calf injury to come off the bench on Tuesday night but probably won’t be risked from the start yet.
Rochdale picked up their first win of the season at Sixfields (and subsequently sent the Cobblers to their first defeat of the season) back in August. Max Taylor gave Dale the lead before Jon Guthrie equalised. But late goals from Josh Andrews and Abraham Odoh sealed all three points for the visitors.
Line-up Prediction – Powered by FanHub
Ollie Yates is in charge of this one, having last officiated the Cobblers in the 3-0 home win over Carlisle back in October. Robert Atkin and Mark Jones are running the lines and Ian Smedley is fourth official.
Charles: Rochdale 1-2 Cobblers
Danny: Rochdale 1-1 Cobblers
Neil: Rochdale 9-9 Cobblers
Jefe: Rochdale 1-1 Cobblers
We were joined this week by Rochdale fan Charlotte from The Dale Way 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.