Jefferson Lake’s Dagenham & Redbridge v Northampton Town preview

WORTH ANOTHER GO? - Ivan Toney may well start at Dagenham following an impressive second-half display against Portsmouth on Monday
WORTH ANOTHER GO? - Ivan Toney may well start at Dagenham following an impressive second-half display against Portsmouth on Monday

The weight of both very recent and slightly longer-term history is in the Cobblers’ favour for their latest vital game, at Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday (3pm ko).

Under Chris Wilder, Northampton have consiStently proved their powers of recovery by winning the fixture that followed a loss on three of the four occasions it has happened; when they didn’t win, they drew.

Not only have they never lost two games in a row under Wilder but they have also never lost at Dagenham’s Victoria Road ground - in fact, they’ve never drawn there either, taking the points on every visit with 1-0 victories.

A John Johnson thunderbolt did the business in the first trip to that particular corner of Essex, a Toni Silva goal was the difference in a ‘chips down’ match in 2012 and last season, Adebayo Akinfenwa (who else?) thumped in a header.

It is a record which grates with Dagenham and one they will be keen to put right this weekend; their draw at Sixfields in October represented the first point they have taken off Northampton and hopes are high that can be built upon.

They are a strong side, and although they will be without the visceral talents of Zavon Hines and the Peterborough-attracting goals of Rhys Murphy, they will still include a certain Luke Norris in their starting line-up.

Norris, inexplicably and unfairly misused by Aidy Boothroyd during his time as a Sixfields loanee, will be especially motivated, and also keen to end a six-game goal drought.

So it’s fair to assume any suggestions the Daggers squad - several of whom are playing for contracts - will be ‘on the beach’ can be instantly discounted as avenues of hope for the Cobblers.

Norris is, of course, Northampton’s joint leading scorer this season with five goals, a fact that says as much about his abilities in front of goal as it does the team’s glaring inabilities.

It would be bitterly ironic if he was to score the goal that puts Town halfway to relegation this weekend, especially if they again fail to find the target themselves.

In Wilder’s 18 games so far, the team has notched two in a single match on four occasions and in the entirety of the campaign they have scored three just once - against Newport County way back in August.

The Town manager must be tempted to start Ivan Toney this weekend.

It is difficult to argue in favour of the continued inclusion of Emile Sinclair, whose ‘non-header’ against Portsmouth is the nadir of his Town career to date.

Toney brought good energy to the forward line in the second half against Pompey, and probably cannot play the full 90 minutes, but could be sent out with the remit of burning himself and his opponents out as quickly as possible.

Kelvin Langmead, too, will be in the manager’s thoughts as a centre-forward.

Like Toney, he did well as an attacking player against Portsmouth and adds much-needed ballast and experience to the team.

His big personality is exactly what the team (what any team, in fact) needs in huge, season-defining games like the one at Dagenham.

History is on the Cobblers’ side.

But the wrong result on Saturday could go a long way to making the 2013-14 season the worst and most damaging the club has ever had.