Former Cobblers defender Liam Davis believes the key to Oxford United claiming a win at Sixfields tomorrow is to get the home fans ‘moaning and groaning’.
Davis spent three seasons as a Cobblers player, before departing for the Kassam Stadium in the summer of 2011.
Tomorrow’s npower League Two clash between the sides will be the second time the former Coventry City man has returned to Sixfields, with his first visit back last season ending in a 2-1 win for Cobblers.
On that occasion, Luke Guttridge fired Aidy Boothroyd’s men into a first-minute lead, and Davis says it is crucial that Oxford don’t let that happen again.
Indeed, he is stressing how important it is to keep the Cobblers out for the opening 20 or 25 minutes, as then the Sixfields supporters will start to get on their own team’s back.
“I always found when we were at Sixfields sometimes the fans would get impatient,” said Davis in an interview with the Oxford Mail.
“It happens at other places like Gillingham, where if they’re not 1-0 up after 25 minutes the fans start moaning and groaning.
“It was a bit similar when I was at Northampton, so if we can frustrate their fans, that will obviously help us.
“As with any footballer, if your fans are moaning and groaning it’s going to frustrate you.
“Looking back to last season’s game, we didn’t have the best of starts and that made it a difficult game for us.
“But if we start well, which we’ve done in a lot of games this season, and we add a goal to that, then it will help us a lot.”
Davis still lives in Northampton, and he admits that he will be getting some stick from his neighbours on Sunday morning whatever the result.
But he is obviously hoping it will be coming from Cobblers fans frustrated by an Oxford victory, rather than a bit of gloating for a Town win.
And Davis is also expecting a mixed reception from the Town fans in the stands.
“I could be getting grief either way, if we win and I score the winner then someone could try to egg my house,” joked the 26-year-old.
“It’s all part of it, and there will probably be some fans who boo me.
“I left the club a couple of seasons ago, so my attachment to Northampton is that I live there now.
“There was a small minority last season booing me when we played there, and when you leave a club some fans aren’t happy and they let you know it when you come back.
“But they’re doing all right now.
“I’m sure they won’t focus on a former player, but there will probably be a couple of people in the stands who want to have a bit of fun.”