Jefferson Lake’s Accrington Stanley versus Northampton Town preview

PAINFUL AFTERNOON - Accrington were 5-4 winners at Sixfields in September
PAINFUL AFTERNOON - Accrington were 5-4 winners at Sixfields in September

Fixture: Accrington v Northampton Town

Date/kick-off time: Saturday, January 31, 3pm

Venue: Crown Ground, Accrington

Weather forecast: 2C, sunny. There was minimal snow overnight on Thursday, and no more is forecast

Outs and doubts: Cobblers: Ian Morris (knee), Kaid Mohamed (broken metatarsal). Accrington: None

Betting: Accrington 2/1, draw 12/5, Cobblers 13/8

Form guide: Cobblers WWWDLL, Accrington LLLWLD

Possible line-ups: Northampton (4-4-1-1): Duke, Moloney, Cresswell, Collins, Horwood, D’Ath, Taylor, Byrom, Holmes, O’Toole, Richards. Accrington (4-4-2): Macey; Buxton, Atkinson, Winnard, Connelly; Procter, Joyce, Naismith, Maguire; Mingoia, McCartan

Last time out: Cobblers beat Newport 3-0 (Cresswell, O’Toole, D’Ath), Accrington lost 1-0 to Bury

Most recent meeting: Saturday, September 20, 2014 - Cobblers 4 (Richards, Toney 2, Carter) Accrington 5 (Atkinson, O’Sullivan 2, Archer og, Maguire)

Cobblers connection: Joel Byrom is from the brilliantly-named Oswaldtwistle suburb of Accrington, but only made two appearances for Stanley in 2006 before drifting into non-league football. The central midfielder is arguably in the best form of his Cobblers career at present.

Jefferson Lake’s preview: The Cobblers haven’t won four games on the bounce for almost five years but head to Accrington as the bookies’ favourites to take three points and extend their winning sequence.

Not since 2010, when Ian Sampson led Northampton five successive victories in February and March, have the Cobblers compiled such a winning sequence and the strength and quality of the performance in the 3-0 win over Newport last weekend provides plenty of encouragement for the forthcoming fixture.

Chris Wilder will not alter his team selection but could find bench places for new arrivals Tom Newey and Billy Bodin to beef up the defence and forward options respectively.

Just as Newport was a new kind of test (coming as it did against a play-off side), a trip to Accrington will also provide an examination of the way the team plays as an away side and when the emphasis is on the home side to attack.

They have enough pace to play a counter-attacking game, especially in the wide areas, and the form of the home team will give them some confidence.

Stanley manager John Coleman has come under a little pressure recently and that has been amplified by the 1-0 home defeat to Bury on Tuesday night.

But it was in Coleman’s first game on his return to the club that Accrington won 5-4 at Sixfields in September, a demoralising defeat which immediately derailed what had been some huge momentum after a rampaging 5-1 win over Hartlepool which remains the Cobblers’ biggest win this season.

Prediction: Accrington 0 Northampton 2