Fixture: Swindon Town v Northampton Town, Sky Bet League One
Date/time: Tuesday, September 27, 7.45pm kick-off
Venue: The County Ground
Forecast: 16C, cloudy
Outs and doubts: Swindon: Jamie Sendles-White (knee), Michael Doughty (illness), James Brophy (illness), Brad Barry (hamstring), Jordan Stewart (knee), Jordan Young (hamstring), Sean Murray (foot). Cobblers: Jak McCourt (knock)
Betting: Swindon 7/4, draw 12/5, Northampton 6/4
Form guide: Robins WLLWLD, Cobblers WLLWWL
Avg. goals scored/conceded per game: Swindon 1.1/1.3, Northampton 1.4/0.9
Likely line-ups: Swindon (3-5-2): Vigouroux; Thompson, Branco, Jones; Furlong, Goddard, Thomas, Kasim, Ormonde-Ottewill; Delfouneso, Obika. Northampton (4-1-4-1): Smith; Moloney, Diamond, Zakuani, Buchanan; McCourt; Hoskins, O’Toole, Taylor, Anderson; Revell
Man in the middle: Brett Huxtable
Last time out: Oldham Athletic 0 Swindon Town 2 (Obika, Ormonde-Ottewill); Northampton Town 4 (O’Toole, Revell, Taylor, Anderson) Southend United 0
Most recent meeting: Monday, April 9, 2012 – Swindon 1 (Holmes) Northampton 0
Record v Swindon: P130 W45 D26 L52
Opposition view: Swindon midfielder Conor Thomas told the club website this week: “We know it is going to be a really difficult game. They have been on a really good run since they’ve been in the league, that has come from last season and they’ve just carried it on.
“They are an intense team and we’re not sure whether they will press or sit back, but we know whatever they do they will be a real test for us, so we’re going to have to be at 100% to get the win tomorrow.”
Cobblers connection: Darnell Furlong’s latest loan spell from Queens Park Rangers has taken him to the County Ground where he’s slotted straight in and played nine times already. Having made 11 appearances whilst on loan at the Cobblers last season, he is set to face his former club this evening.
James Heneghan’s preview: Rob Page has ticked many boxes since taking over from Chris Wilder at Sixfields in the summer but a first win on the road remains elusive, something which he will be hoping to rectify when his Cobblers side take on Swindon for their 131st competitive meeting this evening.
The head-to-head record so far doesn’t bode well for the Cobblers, who’ve lost 52 of the previous 130 encounters and won 45, but recent form suggests they go into this game with more than an outside chance of victory, indeed the bookies even make them slight favourites.
The Robins were sitting just one place outside the drop zone before Saturday’s excellent 2-0 away win at Oldham Athletic lifted them to 17th and although they are 12 places adrift of Northampton, only three points separate the two sides, which just highlights the fine margins at this stage of the season.
Cobblers are winless on the road so far but have picked up respectable draws at Coventry City and Charlton Athletic, though their remarkable unbeaten away run did end last time out.
Page seems to have found a successful blend between attack and defence at home, as highlighted in Saturday’s thrashing of Southend United, but they’ve yet to replicate that away from Sixfields, often finding themselves too deep and too much on the back foot, unable to build sustained attacks.
The fact they’ve managed just 10 shots on target and three goals in their four away matches is an indication of that, and it’s something that Page must address if Cobblers are to maintain their flying start this evening.
Swindon is perhaps a good place to start given they’ve struggled for goals themselves, particularly at the County Ground, and a win could potentially see Town rise to as high as second.
Page must be tempted to stick with the team that so comprehensively beat Southend on Saturday, however given the fact they’re in the middle of another busy run of fixtures – seven in 21 days – he could well freshen the side up and make use of his large squad.
Swindon manager Luke Williams is facing an injury crisis with seven players potentially missing the visit of Northampton.
This is another window of opportunity for the Cobblers, and like Saturday, they must show their ruthless edge.
Prediction: Swindon Town 1 Northampton 1