Cobblers boss Wilder wary of unpredictable Newport County
Boss Chris Wilder is wary of a Newport County side he believes will be desperate to add the scalp of table-topping Cobblers to that of Sky Bet League Two giants Portsmouth when the sides meet at Sixfields on Good Friday (ko 3pm).
The south Wales club are stuck in mid-table, with no chance of going up or getting relegated, and can travel to Northampton in relaxed mood.
The Exiles are capable of turning in superb performances, as they did a fortnight ago when they went to Fratton Park and beat promotion-chasing Pompey 3-0, but they are also capable of having a stinker, as they did last weekend in losing 4-1 at home to Bristol Rovers.
Wilder admits it’s impossible to predict how Newport will approach their Good Friday showdown, and is instead focusing on his own team can overcome their visitors.
“Newport sat behind the ball against Portsmouth and made it hard for them to break them down, and Portsmouth didn’t manage to do it,” said Wilder.
“Whatever gameplan Newport come here with, whether they think they are safe and can enjoy it and take the game to us, or they sit in again, that is for their manager to devise a strategy to get a result, as we will on them.
“We will work on strengths and weaknesses, but we don’t know how they will come here, apart from the fact they will be competitive.
“Warren Feeney is a young manager who wants to do well, and if I turn the clock back to when I first became manager, and I am still the same now, you want to win, simple as that.
“To beat us would be a big scalp for them, beating Portsmouth was a big scalp, and the got a lot of credit for that which was well deserved, and they will want to do the same here.
“They will look at Portsmouth as possibly the biggest club in the league with one of the biggest budgets and best squad of players, and they will look at us as the most effective team in the league that has produced the best results and the most points.
“They will want to add us to the list of scalps Portsmouth are on, and they will be fighting tooth and nail to do that.
“We have to overcome all challenges if we are to come out the other side, and that’s what we are going to try to do.”
The Cobblers welcome skipper Marc Richards back into the fold after six weeks out with an Achilles strain, but it is likely the 18-goal top scorer will start from the bench.
Wilder will mull over if any changes are needed to the side that fought back from 2-0 down to beat Stevenage last weekend, and he could consider a recall for central defender Rod McDonald, who hasn’t played since the 0-0 draw at Hartlepool in February, while Lawson D’Ath or Lee Martin could replace Nicky Adams on the wing.