James Heneghan’s York City v Northampton Town preview

Skipper Marc Richards, pictured here celebrating against York at Sixfields earlier this month, faces four weeks out
Skipper Marc Richards, pictured here celebrating against York at Sixfields earlier this month, faces four weeks out

Fixture: York City v Northampton Town, Sky Bet League Two

Date/time: Tuesday, February 23, 7.45pm kick-off

Venue: Bootham Crescent

Forecast: Dry, 2C

Outs and doubts: York: Femi Ilesanmi (hamstring), Vadaine Oliver (hip), Danny Galbraith (groin), James Berrett (knock). Cobblers: Marc Richards (Achilles), Alfie Potter (ribs), Paul Corry (knee)

Betting: York 3/1, draw 5/2, Northampton 5/6

Form guide: York LWWLWD, Cobblers WWWWWL

Avg. goals scored/conceded per game: York 1.1/1.8, Northampton 1.8/1.0

Likely line-ups: York (4-4-2): Flinders; Hendrie, Winfield, Cameron, Swan; Penn, Coulson, Summerfield, McEvoy; Riordan, Fewster. Northampton (4-4-2): Smith; Moloney, Diamond, McDonald, Buchanan; Holmes, O’Toole, Rose, D’Ath; Marquis, Collins

Man in the middle: For the second time this season Northampton will have Sebastian Stockbridge in charge after the Sunderland referee oversaw August’s 1-1 draw at Accrington Stanley. In 21 games this season, Stockbridge has dished out 73 yellows and four reds.

Last time out: Northampton 1 (Rose) Wycombe 0; Cambridge 3 (Spencer, Coulson, Williamson) York 1 (Berrett)

Most recent meeting: Saturday, February 6, 2016 – Northampton 2 (O’Toole, Richards) York 0

Record v York: P50 W21 D16 L13

Opposition view: Jackie McNamara on tonight’s clash: “Our home form has been good and we went down there a few weeks ago and I thought we did some good things. They started the game very well and put us under pressure but I think even with 10 men we passed the ball properly.

“They’re a good side and they’ll be full of confidence and are top of the league for a reason. They have players in the final third of the pitch who can cause problems but we have to make sure we get the crowd behind us and get the three points.”

Cobblers connection: The late David Longhurst featured for both of this sides during his tragically short playing career which ended when he became the first player to die in a Football League match in 63 years due to a heart condition. He played 37 times for the Cobblers before moving to Peterborough and then signing for York, however in just the third match of the 1990–91 season against Lincoln City, Longhurst suffered a heart attack on the pitch and was pronounced dead when he arrived at the hospital. York later named one of the stands at the Bootham Crescent stadium after him.

James Heneghan’s preview: After Saturday’s record-breaking ninth straight win over Wycombe, Northampton’s focus now switches back to their remarkable form on the road which has seen them not drop a single point away from Sixfields since October.

Continue that run this week by overcoming lowly York City and Hartlepool United and the Cobblers can become the first team ever in England’s fourth tier to win nine successive away games

This evening’s trek up to York is the first of four games in 11 days in which the Cobblers will travel a total of 1,190 miles with trips to Hartlepool and Carlisle to follow and a home game against AFC Wimbledon sandwiched in the middle.

Both the form book and league table suggests only one outcome tonight but it was not quite so straightforward when these two met just 17 days ago.

On that day, the Cobblers ran out 2-0 winners although it was by no means all one-way traffic as York had their moments, however John-Joe O’Toole’s early opener and Marc Richards’ second-half strike eased Town to victory.

Not only are York struggling at the wrong end of the table, sitting third bottom and one point outside the relegation places, but they also hold the third worst defensive record in League Two having conceded 56 goals, three fewer than Morecambe and one less than bottom side Dagenham.

Cobblers’ wealth of options in attack, which has bagged more goals (57) than any other League Two team and the second most across the entire Football League, will be licking their lips at the prospect of facing a side who have let in goals for fun this season.

The Minstermen were dealt a triple whammy at Cambridge on Saturday. Not only did they suffer a 3-1 defeat, they also lost defender Femi Ilesanmi and midfielder James Berrett to injury.

Marc Richards has joined Alfie Potter and Paul Corry on the treatment table at Sixfields but Chris Wilder moved quickly to bring in cover for the skipper and new boy John Marquis could well come straight in for his second Northampton debut at York.

Prediction: York City 1 Northampton Town 3