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Steve Riches: Lawson makes the effort - but draws with Leeds are best!

If we make assumptions (a prejudiced pastime) about people who choose to go either to Franklin's Gardens for the Saints or to Sixfields for the Cobblers, we come up with hackneyed statements about class structure, income, political outlook, social attitude and so on.

These touch on truth in some areas – there are still more 4x4s and wax jackets to be seen at one, and more offensive ritual swearing at the other (I'll leave you to work out which is which) – but the profile is in constant osmosis.

Rugby has a greater working-class penetration than ever before, while people with cerebral outlook are finding the round-ball game just as challenging.

One of those is radio and television presenter Mark Lawson, who lives near Towcester. He presents the Radio 4 Arts programme Front Row, you may have caught his excellent television interview with Sir Michael Parkinson last week on BBC4 as part of his Mark Lawson talks to... series, and you may also remember his various BBC2 contributions, including The Late Show appearances in the 1990s.

He's written four fiction books and is a regular Guardian columnist. Mark, along with his two rugby-playing sons, has been a west stand season ticket holder at the Cobblers for the last three years.

His only problem is that he spent part of his life in Leeds, and has been somewhat torn when the two clubs play; he tells me that a draw is his best emotional outcome.

He was at Elland Road in the visitors' end when we gallantly held out with 10 men to bring them back here in the FA Cup, so he craftily re-arranged his Radio 4 schedules to be at this Tuesday's replay, alas for him, in stepped Setanta TV to reset it to Monday, leaving Mark's plans in tatters!

Injuries have throttled us just as we were hitting form – we may have taken only two points from our last four league games, but we took 10 from the previous four.

Gray can only select from what is available. Kyle Walker, the defender we signed on loan from Sheffield United and who was my man-of-the-match against Oldham, is available at Hereford, but key men Adebayo Akinfenwa and Chris Doig will take weeks to recover.

Reader Steve Foote looked on the amusing side of Saturday's defeat by saying we were confused by Oldham's hi-vis shirts which made them look like our police and stewards, then again I suppose I could say that Leeds' murky kit on Monday made them hard to see against the gloom of the empty seats!

 
 
 

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