Wilder braced for showdown with ‘champions elect’ Shrewsbury

CHAMPION TEST? - Chris Wilder this weekend takes his Cobblers side to play a Shrewsbury team he feels could win league two this season
CHAMPION TEST? - Chris Wilder this weekend takes his Cobblers side to play a Shrewsbury team he feels could win league two this season

Chris Wilder feels the Cobblers’ weekend opponents Shrewsbury Town can win the Sky Bet League Two title this season.

Town travel to the New Meadow for their toughest assignment of the season so far, against a Shrews side second in the league and unbeaten on their own ground.

The match will provide a stern examination of Northampton’s recent good run of six wins in eight games and represents a clash between two of the most in-form sides in the division.

But while Wilder accepts Shrewsbury’s strengths, he also feels his players have enough good qualities to ensure his opposite number Micky Mellon will be harbouring some concerns of his own ahead of the weekend game.

“Shrewsbury could win the title this season - I personally think it’s between them and Burton and that Shrewsbury have the stronger squad,” said Wilder.

“It’s going to be tight and I think it will be neck and neck between those two all the way. I can’t see anyone coming into it from underneath and making a run to snatch it away.

“I expect those two to be battling it out for the title and they’ve done extremely well. Their home form has been key to that.

“I’ve watched them a few times this season and they are excellent value for their league position and they deserve to be where they are because of their consistency.

“But we’re in decent nick and Micky (Mellon) will be looking at our players and having a lot of thoughts about them too.

“I think it’s one of the stand-out games in our league this weekend.”

Shrewsbury were beaten in their most recent game, losing 2-1 at Tranmere, but they have been irresistible at home and have won 13 of their 16 games there, drawing the other three.

It is form which, Wilder feels, could carry them to the league two trophy this season.

“A couple of teams have come close to beating them,” he said. “A few years ago I went there with Oxford and they were unbeaten until about March and scored a 95th-minute equaliser against us.

“Matt Richards scored from what felt like about 50 yards and they went on to clinch promotion and it’s a sign of a really good side.

“Their home form is key and I would imagine if you stay unbeaten at home then you won’t be a million miles away from being promoted.”