Fixture: Northampton Town v Plymouth Argyle
Date/kick-off time: Saturday, August 22, 3pm
Weather forecast: 27C, showers
Outs and doubts: Cobblers: Jason Taylor (suspended), Ricky Holmes (back), Brendan Moloney (knee), Evan Horwood (groin)
Betting: Cobblers 13/10, draw 11/5, Plymouth 9/4
Form guide: Cobblers LWWWWW, Plymouth WLLWWW
Likely line-ups: Cobblers (4-2-3-1): Smitn; Lelan, Diamond, Cresswell, Buchanan; Byrom, Watson; Potter, Adams, D’Ath; Richards. Plymouth (4-2-3-1): McCormick; Mellor, Nelson, Hartley, Sawyer; McHugh, Boateng; Jervis, Carey, Wylde; Reid
Last time out: Barnet 2 (Akinde 2) Cobblers 0; Plymouth 4 (Jervis 2, Reid, Carey) Carlisle 1 (Thompson)
Most recent meeting: Saturday, March 7, 2015 - Plymouth 2 (O’Connor, Alessandra) Northampton 0
Opposition view: Speaking to the Western Morning News, Plymouth boss Derek Adams believes Northampton’s tie at Newcastle next Tuesday will offer an extra incentive for the Cobblers in tomorrow’s clash. He said: “They will be looking towards putting on a performance to try to get in the team to play against Newcastle. That’s something which is not going to benefit us. It was going to be a competitive game to start with, and that (the cup tie against Newcastle) will make it even more competitive.”
Cobblers connection: Striker Paul McGregor joined the Cobblers in 2001 following two contrasting seasons at Plymouth Argyle. Having fallen out of favour at Nottingham Forest, McGregor signed for Argyle in 1999 and enjoyed an excellent first campaign when he netted 16 goals in all competitions which saw him win the club’s Player of the Year award. It was more of a struggle the following year, though, as he struggled for goals before moving to Northampton on a free transfer. The now 40-year-old scored six goals in 69 appearances in an injury-blighted spell at Sixfields and retired at the end of his second season at the club.
James Heneghan’s preview: Northampton’s recent record against the Pilgrims doesn’t make for pretty reading. The Cobblers have won just one of their last eight meetings, losing the last four in a row, although the overall record between the two sides swings in Northampton’s favour with 24 wins to Plymouth’s 22.
Argyle came up just short of promotion last season, sneaking into the play-offs on the final day, only to lose to Wycombe Wanderers in the semi-finals.
John Sheridan then left the club by mutual consent and new boss Derek Adams will be looking to take his side one step further this year and he’s made a good start with two wins from their first three, including an impressive 4-1 win over Carlisle United in midweek.
Argyle have no injuries worries coming into the game and are likely to stick with the same side that started against Carlisle on Tuesday.
Jake Jervis missed the 2-1 defeat by Portsmouth at Home Park last Saturday because of a groin injury but returned against Carlisle and scored two of the goals in the 4-1 win. He replaced on-loan Craig Tanner, who went back to the bench.
In contrast, Cobblers boss Chris Wilder has a few injury concerns with Ricky Holmes joining Brendan Moloney and Evan Horwood on the sidelines and Jason Taylor is suspended after his red card against Barnet, though Zander Diamond is fit again and should come back in for Rod McDonald.
Having made so many changes for the Barnet defeat, Wilder is likely to revert to the same side which beat Exeter City 3-0 last weekend, minus Taylor who could be replaced by John-Joe O’Toole or Paul Corry may come in for his first Cobblers start.
Alternatively, new signing Ryan Watson may go straight into the starting line-up having just joined on loan from Leicester City.
We could be in for a high-scoring game between two sides who like to attack but are also susceptible to conceding. Adams, like Wilder, tends to favour a 4-2-3-1 formation with rapid wingers Jake Jervis and Greg Wylde two players to watch out for, while Graham Carey is somewhat regarded as a set-piece specialist.
Leading the line will be the prolific Reuben Reid, who has scored more League Two goals (35) than any other player over the last two seasons.
A Northampton victory will make it three wins from four games this season, a good start in anyone’s book, but a draw would be far from a disaster.
Prediction: Cobblers 3 Plymouth 2