James Heneghan’s Lincoln City v Northampton Town preview

Matt Green's header separated the teams back in August as the Cobblers missed a hatful of chances in front of goal. Pictures: Sharon Lucey
Matt Green's header separated the teams back in August as the Cobblers missed a hatful of chances in front of goal. Pictures: Sharon Lucey

Fixture: Lincoln City v Northampton Town, FA Cup first round

Date/time: Saturday, November 10, 3pm kick-off

Venue: Sincil Bank

Forecast: 12C, sunny spells

Outs and doubts: Lincoln: Michael Bostwick, Neal Eardley. Cobblers: Sam Foley (suspended – 2/3), Matt Crooks, Junior Morias, Shay Facey, Leon Barnett, Ash Taylor, Aaron Pierre

Betting: Lincoln 7/10, draw 13/5, Northampton 4/1

Form guide: Imps DWLDDW, Cobblers WWWWLW

Possible line-ups: Lincoln (4-2-3-1): Vickers; Wilson, Bostwick, Shackell, Toffolo; Frecklington, O’Connor; Anderson, Pett, Andrade; Akinde. Northampton (4-4-2): Ward; Odoffin, Turnbull, Pierre, Buchanan; Hoskins, McWilliams, O’Toole, Bridge; Williams, van Veen.

Man in the middle: Graham Salisbury

Last time out: Lincoln 2 (Green 2) Wolves U21s 2; Northampton 2 (Pierre, Hoskins) Fulham U21s 0

Most recent meeting: Saturday, August 4, 2018 – Northampton 0 Lincoln 1 (Green)

Record v Lincoln: P53 W15 D24 L14

Opposition view: “Northampton are one of the best teams we’ve played this season,” said Imps boss Danny Cowley. “I know we managed to find a way of beating them but it was a very tough game. They’ve now got a new manager and have been on a really good run.”

James Heneghan’s preview: They say form goes out the window when the FA Cup rolls into town but Cobblers will be hoping that particular cliche doesn’t hold true for this weekend’s trip to LIncoln City.

They say form goes out the window when the FA Cup rolls into town but Cobblers will be hoping that particular cliche doesn’t hold true for this weekend’s trip to LIncoln City.

Back when the draw was made for this first round tie at Sincil Bank, it looked a home banker. At that time, the Imps were top of League Two by four points and had just come off a run of one defeat in eight. Northampton, by contrast, sat a disappointing 19th, placed precariously above the drop zone and with only three wins all season.

But the first-round draw came just a day before Town’s 5-0 thumping at Macclesfield Town and while Lincoln have stuttered a little with one victory in four games since, the Cobblers have been on the rampage, winning six of seven to march up the table.

So though the bookies still make the League Two leaders strong favourites for this weekend’s tie, Town will make the trip north more in expectation and less in hope, certainly compared to a month ago.

It was in this competition two seasons ago when Lincoln won the hearts of the nation for a remarkable cup run, beating Brighton and winning at Premier League Burnley en route to defeat at Arsenal at the quarter-final stage.

Such is their superb record under impressive manager Danny Cowley, they might well fancy a repeat this season. Currently top of League Two and bidding for a second promotion in three years, the Imps are very much a club on the rise.

For the Cobblers, injuries and suspensions continue to force Keith Curle’s hand. He’s still without Ash Taylor, Leon Barnett, Junior Morias, Shay Facey and Sam Foley while Matt Crooks remains a doubt and Aaron Pierre was taken off at half-time on Tuesday due to a minor back complaint.

Those absentees make Curle’s work even more impressive. On a run if six wins in seven and four in a row, the Cobblers will be hoping the formbook holds true for football’s most prestigious cup competition.

Prediction: Lincoln City 1 Northampton Town 1