Saints and Cobblers fans are again being urged to arrive early for the home matches tomorrow as traffic is expected to be extremely heavy ahead of the 3pm kick-off for both games.
A traffic management plan has been put in place to deal with problems caused by Northampton Town’s league fixture against Plymouth Argyle at Sixfields starting at exactly the same time as Northampton Saints take on Bath at Franklin’s Gardens.
The Cobblers are encouraging football fans to arrive early, with turnstiles open from 1.30pm, and Carr’s Bar open from 1pm showing the Fulham versus Stoke match.
Gareth Willsher, spokesman for the Cobblers said the club had “no control” over the unusual number of fixture clashes with the Saints this season.
He said: “Before Christmas we moved the Port Vale and Aldershot games to kick off at 2pm, and in a few weeks time we will play Torquay United on Good Friday evening rather than Easter Saturday to avoid another clash.
“Either side of the Plymouth game we have midweek games and that makes moving the date of this fixture to a Friday or Sunday difficult.
“An early kick off is also difficult. We are playing Plymouth and their fans and team have to travel around 250 miles.
“To be fair to the travelling supporters, we would not expect them to have to leave even earlier for an early kick off here, in the same we way we always hope and expect our fans are treated with consideration when travelling away.
“That said, we are very aware of our own season ticket holders who want their football played at 3pm on Saturday. Many people struggle to make different days/times and even moving the kick off forward by an hour makes things difficult for those who work on a Saturday morning.”
“It is about striking a balance that is in the interest of season ticket holders, home supporters, away supporters and the local community and businesses.
“With apologies in advance for any delays supporters may experience coming to or going from Sixfields on Saturday, on balance we feel a 3pm kick off on Saturday is the right decision for this game.”
Chris Wearmouth, spokesman for the Saints, said the rugby club was also encouraging fans to leave extra time to get to the game at Franklin’s Gardens.
He said: “We have learned lessons from previous times when we’ve kicked off at the same time as the Cobblers and the people who organise the traffic management plan are all experienced professionals who will know how to deal with the situation.”