Fixture: Northampton Town v Oldham Athletic, Sky Bet League One
Date/kick-off time: Saturday, May 5, 5.30pm kick-off
Weather forecast: 19C, sunny spells
Outs and doubts: Cobblers: Aaron Phillips (thigh), Matt Crooks (hamstring). Oldham: Anthony Gerrard (calf), Cameron Dummigan (groin), Kean Bryan (leg)
Betting: Northampton 13/5, draw 5/2, Oldham 1/1
Form guide: Cobblers LWWLLL, Latics DLDDDD
Possible line-ups: Northampton (4-4-1-1): O’Donnell; Facey, Taylor, Barnett, Buchanan; Bridge, McWilliams, Grimes, Powell; O’Toole; Long. Oldham (4-4-1-1): Placide; Hunt, Haymer, Edmundson, Nepomuceno; Benyu, Pringle, Gardner, Nazon; Byrne; Doyle.
Man in the middle: Keith Stroud
Last time out: Walsall 1 Northampton 0; Oldham 0 Doncaster 0
Most recent meeting: Saturday, December 9, 2017 – Oldham 5 (Byrne 2, Obadeyi, Nepomuceno, Davies) Northampton Town 1 (Foley)
Record v Oldham: P35 W11 D8 L16
Opposition view: “We know what we’ve got to do,” says Latics boss Richie Wellens. “We will take a fantastic support down to Northampton and hopefully we will get the win that we need to play League One football next season. We need to make sure we play at full pelt and exploit Northampton’s weaknesses, as long as I do that and we are organised, I can be fine about what I’ve done.”
James Heneghan’s preview: There may be little resting on this game from a Cobblers perspective – bar something extraordinary – but Oldham Athletic, like Gillingham on the final day of last season, come to Sixfields still in desperate need of three points to guarantee their own League One survival.
Town require a nine-goal win and defeat for Rochdale at home to Charlton to pull off what would be the greatest escape in history but, realistically speaking, the only team who can survive out of the two sides playing at Sixfields on Saturday is the Latics.
Richie Wellens knows his team control their own destiny because victory over Northampton would ensure they stay in League One for next season at the expense of their Greater Manchester rivals. One of those two will drop down a division with Walsall and AFC Wimbledon both now safe following midweek draws.
The Latics’ inability to turn draws into wins has been their biggest undoing of late having drawn six of their past seven games, including a goalless stalemate at home to Doncaster last time out which has left them precariously placed with one game to go.
That result, plus Rochdale’s defeat at Oxford, would also have been enough to keep Town in the mix this weekend had they not suffered a last-gasp loss at Walsall last weekend, all but ending their survival hopes.
While this is essentially a dead-rubber for his side, Dean Austin is unlikely to make many changes as the Cobblers look to end their disappointing campaign on a positive by backing up their tremendous display against Plymouth with another one this weekend.
Austin is still auditioning for the permanent job, assuming he wants it, so he’ll be keen for his team to produce another improved performance and positive result. If he does that, it’ll make it three wins from five games during his short reign and perhaps enough to convince chairman Kelvin Thomas to hand him the job full-time.
As their final game in League One for at least another season, they’ll be eager to make it a good one.
Prediction: Northampton Town 3 Oldham Athletic 2