Fixture: Newcastle United v Northampton Town, Capital One Cup second round
Date/kick-off time: Tuesday, August 25, 7.45pm kick-off
Venue: St James’ Park
Weather forecast: 17C, cloudy
Outs and doubts: Newcastle: Moussa Sissoko (groin), Curtis Good (thigh), Emmanuel Riviere (knee), Sylvain Marveaux (groin), Paul Dummett (hamstring). Cobblers: Josh Lelan (suspended), Brendan Moloney (knee), Evan Horwood (groin), Ricky Holmes (back)
Betting: Magpies 2/5, draw 18/5, Northampton 13/2
Form guide: Newcastle DLDLLD, Cobblers LLWWWW
Likely line-ups: Newcastle (4-4-2): Darlow; Mbemba, Taylor, Williamson, Hairdara; Tiote, Colback, Thauvin, De Jong; Perez, Mitrovic. Cobblers (4-2-3-1): Clarke; Yates, McDonald, Cresswell, Buchanan; Corry, Taylor; Hackett, Hoskins, Potter; Calvert-Lewin
Man in the middle: David Coote
Last time out: Manchester United 0 Newcastle United 0; Northampton Town 0 Plymouth 2 (Carey, Jervis)
Most recent meeting: FA Cup third round, January 21, 1987 – Newcastle 2 (Goddard, Thomas) Northampton 1 (Hill)
Opposition view: Magpies boss Steve McClaren on tonight’s clash: “We are taking it very seriously. Northampton are a good team who are strong. In football, any team on their day can beat anyone. If we’re not right, they will hurt us. We have been watching them – they’re physical, strong and put in a lot of crosses.
“We will be putting out our strongest team possible, taking into account Saturday, this weekend and the strength in the squad. It will be a team that will be strong enough and good enough to win the game – the attitude has to be right though.”
Cobblers connections: When thinking of links between Newcastle and Northampton, two names immediately spring to mind – Ivan Toney and Graham Carr. There are, however, a number of other, lesser known, connections between the two clubs.
In recent times, Ben Tozer had two loan spells at Northampton from the Magpies before signing a permanent deal at Sixfields in 2011, where he spent four years and made 171 league appearances. Another player that has ties with the two clubs is goalkeeper Andy Woodman, who enjoyed four years at the Cobblers in the 1990s before joining Newcastle as a goalkeeping coach in 2010, while striker Ken Leek scored 27 goals in 71 games for Northampton during the 1950s before netting six times in 13 matches for Newcastle in 1961.
If you want to go back even further, Harry Brown featured for both clubs in the early 1900s, while on a managerial front, Colin Calderwood took charge of the Cobblers for three years from 2003 before having a brief stint as caretaker manager of the Magpies in 2009.
James Heneghan’s preview: The Magpies warmed for this crunch clash with a goalless draw at a little known team called Manchester United on Saturday, but the real test comes tonight.
Meetings between these two are few and far between and you have to go way back to 1987 to find the last time they faced each other. On that occasion, it was the third round of the FA Cup with United, much like they are today, billed as overwhelming favourites. The Cobblers were in Division Four, three tiers below Newcastle, but they gave a good account of themselves and almost pulled off a major upset with Richard Hill cancelling out Paul Goddard’s opener, only for Andy Thomas to rescue the Magpies.
In total, Northampton have three wins – all in the league in the 1960s – to Newcastle’s five in their 10 meetings.
The Tyneside faithful are desperate for success and former England manager Steve McClaren, who took charge at St James’ Park in the summer, may be eyeing this year’s League Cup as the ideal opportunity to end their 60-year wait for silverware. And, on paper at least, tonight’s tie presents them with the perfect chance to take the first step.
Be wary, though, as the Cobblers are no strangers to cup shocks, especially in recent times. In fact, in various domestic cup competitions over the last five years, Northampton have upset higher league opposition on eight occasions with the likes of Wolverhampton Wanderers, Ipswich Town, Cardiff City and, most memorably of all, Liverpool all victims of the Cobblers curse.
Predicting the two line-ups is an unenviable task. Despite McClaren’s comments, Newcastle are likely to rest several first team players, such as goalkeeper Tim Krul and captain Fabricio Coloccini, but Florian Thauvin may be given his first start having signed for the club last week.
As for Ivan Toney, the teenager could well be given a run-out against his former club although if he does, it will probably be off the bench.
For Northampton, Port Vale loanee right-back Adam Yates will come straight into the side with Josh Lelan suspended and Brendan Moloney inured, while Wilder is likely to rotate his attacking players again with Sam Hoskins and Dominic Calvert-Lewin potential starters.
Newcastle’s quality should ultimately see them through, but there’s no reason why the Cobblers can’t give them a run for their money.
Prediction: Newcatle 3 Northampton 1