Fixture: Barnet v Northampton Town
Date/kick-off time: Tuesday, August 18, 7.45pm kick-off
Venue: The Hive
Weather forecast: 17C, cloudy
Outs and doubts: Barnet: Kevin Lisbie (hamstring). Cobblers: Brendan Moloney (knee), Evan Horwood (groin), Zander Diamond (groin)
Betting: Barnet 6/4, draw 9/4, Cobblers 7/4
Form guide: Barnet LWLLWW, Northampton WWWWWD
Likely line-ups: Barnet (4-4-2): Stack; Hoyte, N’Gala, Dembele, Johnson; Yiadom, Togwell, Weston, Vilhete; Ankinde, Gash. Cobblers (4-2-3-1): Smith; Lelan, McDonald, Cresswell, Buchanan; Byrom, Taylor; Potter, Adams, Holmes; Richards.
Last time out: Barnet 0 Wycombe 2 (Thompson 2); Northampton 3 (Taylor, Cresswell, Richards) Exeter 0
Most recent meeting: Saturday, April 27, 2013 - Northampton 2 (O’Donovan, Guttridge) Barnet 0
Opposition view: Barnet boss Marin Allen told the club’s website: “Northampton had a fantastic end to last season and nearly made the play-offs. Chris Wilder is a fantastic manager who’s got a really good team together, and I fully expect them to be right up in that top seven come the end of the season. So it’s another really big test for us and we’re all looking forward to it.”
Cobblers connection: Northampton winger Ricky Holmes will return to the club he spent three years at when these two sides meet on Tuesday night. Holmes signed for Barnet on a free transfer in 2010 and went on to make 99 appearances for the Bees, scoring 16 times before leaving the club after their relegation to the Conference in 2013. He then spent 18 months at Portsmouth prior to joining the Cobblers in January of this year.
James Heneghan’s preview: We’re a mere 10 days into the new season yet tonight’s clash is already the fourth game of the campaign for each of these two sides.
It’s fair to say the Cobblers have made the better start, not only claiming three wins from three but also keeping three clean sheets in the process while netting seven goals, all scored by different goalscorers.
In contrast, recently promoted Barnet have endured a tough start to life in League Two, losing both of their opening two games without scoring, albeit against two sides widely tipped for promotion in the shape of Leyton Orient and Wycombe.
The Bees have strengthened the squad that saw them pip Bristol Rovers to the Conference title last year with the likes of Shaun Batt, Kevin Lisbie and Gavin Hoyte all joining the club, and they are a side not to be taken lightly as Millwall discovered to their cost in last week’s Capital One Cup tie.
It will be interesting to see if Wilder decides to shake things up given his scathing comments after the win over Exeter City. The Cobblers boss suggested he may freshen his side up with Ricky Holmes and John Joe-Toole possible starters.
Zander Diamond is a major doubt with a groin injury, paving the way for Rod McDonald to make his first Cobblers start, while Brendan Moloney and Evan Horwood remain sidelined.
Prediction: Barnet 1 Cobblers 1