Fixture: Northampton Town v Yeovil Town, Sky Bet League Two
Date/time: Saturday, November 28, 3pm
Forecast: 6C, showers
Outs and doubts: Cobblers: Brendan Moloney (suspended), Paul Corry (knee). Yeovil: Jack Compton (calf), Marc Laird (hamstring), Omar Sowunmi (ankle), Kevin Dawson (pelvis), Simon Gillett (knee)
Betting: Northampton 4/7, draw 3/1, Yeovil 9/2
Form guide: Cobblers WWWWDW, Yeovil LDDDWL
Avg. goals scored/conceded per game: Cobblers 1.6/1.2, Yeovil 1/1.7
Likely line-ups: Northampton (4-2-3-1): Smith; Lelan, Diamond, Cresswell, Buchanan; O’Toole, Byrom; D’Ath, Adams, Potter; Richards. Yeovil (4-4-2): Weale; Roberts, Ward, Lacey, Smith; Fogden, Tozer, Dolan, Cornick; Bird, Zoko
Man in the middle: Cobblers tasted victory the last time James Linington was in charge as they beat Wimbledon 2-0 in November last year. Mr Linington has brandished three reds and 46 yellows in 17 games this campaign. Last season he handed out 10 red cards – the joint most in the Football League.
Last time out: Crawley 1 (Walton) Northampton 2 (Byrom, O’Toole); Yeovil 0 Wycombe 1 (O’Nien)
Most recent meeting: Saturday, March 31, 2009 – Yeovil 1 (Obika) Northampton 0
Record v Yeovil: P11 W3 D4 L4
Opposition view: Paul Sturrock told the club’s website: “Hopefully now competition for places will kick-in and we’ll get an edge to the team. Northampton are third and haven’t been beaten for a while but we’ve been to Portsmouth and other difficult places and got results so I’m very confident the players will respond.
“I’m optimistic, we’ve got a fight on our hands so we need to start winning games. I’m not surprised by Northampton’s start – I’ve seen their squad and they’ve gelled together as a unit well and are winning football games.”
Cobblers connection: Former Cobblers favourite Ben Tozer will be back in town this weekend. The versatile defender initially signed for Town on a one month’s loan deal, followed by two extensions before finally securing a permanent move to Sixfields in June of 2011. In total, Tozer turned out 199 times for the Cobblers but the arrival of Brendan Moloney plus a knee injury saw his playing time reduced last season before he was released by Chris Wilder. After signing for Yeovil in June, the 25-year-old has made just five appearances this season due to injury.
James Heneghan’s preview: For the third game running Northampton will come up against a side who were relegated from League One last season.
And following impressive wins at Notts County and Crawley Town, this Saturday’s home game against bottom-of-the-table Yeovil Town should, on paper at least, be the most straightforward.
But football is, of course, rarely that simple and despite all the signs pointing firmly in the direction of a home win, Chris Wilder’s side will have to be wary of a team who have earned draws against League One high-fliers Coventry and Gillingham this season.
Nevertheless, it’s been a pretty wretched couple of years for the Glovers who seem to be on a permanent downward spiral following their promotion to the second tier of English football for the first time in their history in 2013.
Relegation from the Championship followed the very next year and their 2014/15 campaign wasn’t much to shout about either as they finished bottom of League One, 12 points adrift of safety.
And their seemingly never-ending plight has continued into this season. Sitting bottom of the table, without a win in 11, Yeovil are running the very real risk of suffering back-to-back-to-back relegations.
For Northampton, it couldn’t be more different.
After months of worry, stress and uncertainty, it’s been a week to saviour for Cobblers fans with new executive chairman Kelvin Thomas coming to the rescue.
And now there’s a real sense of excitement and optimism around Sixfields, which is quite a transformation from just a week ago when the cub’s future was very much in doubt.
Much of that excitement stems from the on-field performances in recent weeks with the Cobblers on a run of just one defeat in 13 League Two games, which has resulted in their best start to a league campaign for almost 30 years.
On top of that, Wilder’s side could be sitting top of the League Two come Saturday evening, which would be the perfect end to what has been a memorable week.
As for head-to-head meetings between these two, well they’re something of a rarity. Only 11 times have they clashed before, the last coming in 2009 when Jon Obika’s late goal sealed a 1-0 home win for the Glovers.
Not only are Yeovil struggling at the wrong of the table, they also have a substantial injury list and could be missing up to six first-team players for this weekend’s trip to Sixfields.
Boss Paul Sturrock has boosted his squad this week, though, with the addition of experienced striker Francois Zoko and Tottenham’s Christian Maghoma, both on loan.
Cobblers fans could see Ricky Holmes for only the second time this season after Chris Wilder confirmed he will be in the matchday squad this weekend, but the starting XI is likely to be the same one that beat Crawley on Tuesday aside from the absence of the suspended Brendan Moloney, who could be replaced by Josh Lelan.
Buoyed by the takeover and with just one defeat in 13 games, six wins in the last seven and a chance to go top of the table against a team without a league win since mid-September – a run of 11 games – absolutely everything points towards a home win this weekend.
The two sides could barely be coming into this game in more different shape.
But seldom is football so straightforward.
Prediction: Northampton 3 Yeovil 1