Fixture: Northampton Town v Dagenham & Redbridge
Date/time: Saturday, September 5, 3pm kick-off
Weather forecast: 14C, cloudy
Outs and doubts: Cobblers: Adam Yates (thigh), Zander Diamond (leg), Ricky Holmes (back strain), Brendan Moloney (knee), Evan Horwood (groin). Dagenham: Andre Boucaud (international duty), Jack Connors (international duty)
Betting: Northampton 7/10, draw 13/5, Dagenham 4/1
Form guide: Cobblers WDLLLW, Daggers WDDLLL
Likely line-ups: Northampton (4-2-3-1): Smith; Yates, Cresswell, McDonald, Buchanan; Byrom, Taylor; Potter, Adams, D’Ath; Richards. Dagenham (4-4-2): O’Brien; Passley, Nosworthy, Obileye, Widdowson; Jones, Richards, Ferdinand, Hemmings; Cureton, McClure
Man in the middle: In charge on Saturday will be Charles Breakspear who also took oversaw this fixture last year when Northampton ran out 1-0 winners. The referee handed out 97 yellow cards and nine reds in 29 games last season and has so far dished out 16 yellows this campaign.
Last time out: Northampton 3 (Calvert-Lewin, Watson, Richards) Colchester 2 (Bonne 2); Cambridge United 0 Dagenham & Redbridge 2 (Hemmings, McClure)
Most recent meeting: Saturday, January 17, Northampton 1 (Holmes) Dagenham 0
Cobblers connection: Northampton midfielder Lawson D’Ath made 21 appearances while on loan at the Daggers from Reading in 2013/14. He scored one goal in his time at Dagenham before returning to his parent club. D’Ath was released by Reading in 2014 and following trials at Bristol Rovers and Yeovil, signed a contract with Northampton in August.
Opposition view: Wayne Burnett speaking to the club’s website: “Chris Wilder is a really good friend of mine, but I can’t seem to beat him! I never beat him at Oxford or Northampton and as a team we have only ever got a point against Northampton. It’s always tough against them, Chris sets up his teams very competitively and they have some decent footballers, but we are three unbeaten now and hopefully that can give us some confidence.”
James Heneghan’s preview: Without tempting fate, all the signs point firmly in the direction of a home victory this weekend with the Cobblers currently boasting an utterly dominant head-to-head record between the two.
Northampton are yet to lose to Dagenham in any of their previous 10 meetings, winning nine and drawing just one, with the latest victory coming via a solitary Ricky Holmes goal at Sixfields in January.
Not only does the head-to-head record bode well for Northampton, but so does current form.
While the Cobblers have hardly set the world alight in recent weeks, it doesn’t compare to the troubles of this weekend’s visitors who have endured a miserable start to the campaign with no wins from their opening five games.
In fact, the Daggers go into tomorrow’s clash having only notched their first victory of the season on Tuesday, beating Cambridge United 2-0 in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Prior to that win, Dagenham had suffered a stuttering start to the Sky Bet League Two season, losing their first three games, although two draws against Wycombe and then Stevenage last week, plus Tuesday’s moral-boosting win, has lifted spirits.
Despite that turnaround in form, though, Dagenham remain in the relegation zone at this early stage and they are, along with Newport County, the favourites for relegation with the bookies.
You would think, then, that Saturday’s game represents an ideal opportunity for the Cobblers to get back to winning ways in the league, especially after Tuesday’s confidence lifting 3-2 win over League One outfit Colchester United in the JPT.
The growing injury list remains a worry, however, with Adam Yates the latest concern. He’s a doubt with a thigh strain picked up in the win over Colchester, while Zander Diamond, Ricky Holmes, Brendan Moloney and Evan Horwood remain sidelined.
One crumb of comfort for Chris Wilder and Northampton fans is that the less cluttered fixture list over the next month, with three games in 20 days following tomorrow, should allow those injured players a chance to recover quicker.
Dagenham have a clean bill of health coming into the game although they are without influential captain Andre Boucaud who’s on international duty with Trinidad and Tobago.
Wayne Burnett may stick with the majority of the side that beat Cambridge in midweek but veteran striker Jamie Cureton is likely to return.
Prediction: Northampton 3 Dagenham 1