James Heneghan’s Oldham Athletic v Northampton Town preview

Zander Diamond returns to Boundary Park tonight having played for Oldham in 2011/12
Zander Diamond returns to Boundary Park tonight having played for Oldham in 2011/12
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Fixture: Oldham Athletic v Northampton Town, Sky Bet League One

Date/time: Tuesday, August 16, 7.45pm kick-off

Venue: Boundary Park

Forecast: 20C, sunny spells

Outs and doubts: Cobblers: Jack McCourt, Raheem Hanley

Betting: Oldham 13/8, draw 9/4, Northampton 17/10

Form guide: Latics DWL, Cobblers DWD

Possible line-ups: Oldham (4-4-2): Ripley, Law, Clarke, Burgess, Reckord, Klok, Green, Flynn, Fane, McKay, Erwin. Northampton (4-2-3-1): Smith, Phillips, Diamond, Zakuani, Buchanan, O’Toole, Taylor, Potter, Beautyman, Sonupe, Revell

Man in the middle: If Sebastian Stockbridge’s first three games are anything to go by, we could be in for a goalfest at Boundary Park this evening. The Tyneside official has overseen 18 goals in those three games, a 3-2, a 5-4 and a 2-2.

Last time out: Oldham 0 Walsall 0; Charlton 1 (Jackson) Northampton 1 (Revell)

Most recent meeting: Saturday, February 14, 2009 – Oldham 2 (Hazell, Windass) Northampton 1 (Akinfenwa)

Record v Oldham: P32 W11 D7 L14

Opposition view: Latics boss Steve Robinson on Northampton: “They have got a bit of momentum and that can carry you forward at this level. They have signed well, got good players and good management staff so it will be a tough game. Northampton will be a big test for us but I’m hoping for our first league win of the season.”

Cobblers connection: Two current Cobblers players will be heading back to their former club this evening. Centre-back Zander Diamond featured 31 times for the Latics in 2011/12 before moving to Burton Albion, while Marc Richards had a very short loan spell at Boundary Park at the age of 19 in 2001, making just six appearances.

James Heneghan’s preview: The rush of early-season fixtures is often a source of irritation for football managers and with this their fourth of seven games in 21 days, it will be interesting to see how Rob Page shuffles his pack for tonight’s trip to Boundary Park.

So far, the new Cobblers boss has opted for consistency in selection and shown faith in those who have impressed in these early stages, in fact no team in the entire Football League has used fewer players than Northampton (13) after two games this season.

The back five are unlikely to change any time soon given how impressively they have defended as a unit so far, particularly Zander Diamond and Gabriel Zakuani who have struck up an immediate partnership at centre-back.

But a need to freshen things up might force Page’s hand in other areas of the pitch and perhaps we could see a slightly different side tonight with the likes of Lawson D’Ath, Joel Byrom and Sam Hoskins all pushing for their first starts of the season.

One possible change could be to bring in Emmanuel Sonupe for his debut in the place of Kenji Gorre who, aside from glimpses of promise, has struggled to adapt and really establish himself, not that he isn’t capable of bursting into life once he settles.

Then again, it would be no surprise if Page sticks to his guns and plays the same team that came away from Charlton with a point as he chases his first league win as Northampton manager.

Tonight’s opponents endured a disastrous summer having missed out on several managerial candidates and when they did finally appoint former Northern Ireland assistant Steve Robinson, he only had five players on his first day in the job.

But the 41-year-old seems to have somewhat settled things and got the Latics back on track with their first point of the season coming against Walsall on Saturday, although they are yet to net this term.

Prediction: Oldham Athletic 1 Northampton Town 2