DERBY DAY: James Heneghan's Peterborough United v Northampton Town preview
Fixture: Peterborough United v Northampton Town, Sky Bet League One
Date/time: Tuesday, October 18, 7.45pm kick-off
Venue: ABAX Stadium
Forecast: 10C, cloudy
Outs and doubts: Posh: Brad Inman (ankle), Lee Angol (ankle), Jermaine Anderson (anterior cruciate ligament). Cobblers: Matty Taylor (suspended – 2/3) Jak McCourt (suspended – 1/1)
Betting: Peterborough 1/1, draw 13/5, Northampton 5/2
Form guide: Posh LWLDDD, Cobblers LDLLWW
Avg. goals scored/conceded per game: Peterborough 1.6/1.3; Northampton 1.5/1.2
Likely line-ups: Peterborough (4-4-2): McGee; White, Tafazolli, Baldwin, Hughes; Maddison, Lopes, Forrester, Edwards; Nichols, Coulthirst. Northampton (4-2-3-1): Smith; Moloney, Zakuani, Nyatanga, Buchanan; O’Toole, Byrom; Hoskins, Beautyman, Anderson; Revell
Man in the middle: A potentially fiery local derby demands a man who is accustomed to reffing big occasions and regular Premier League official Neil Swarbrick is charged with that responsibility this evening. The Lancashire ref has overseen eight games so far this season, handing out 34 yellow cards and one red.
Last time out: Fleetwood 2 Peterborough 0; Northampton 1 (Richards) Millwall 3
Most recent meeting: Saturday, March 14, 2009 – Peterborough 1 (Lee) Northampton 0
Record v Peterborough: P64 W20 D17 L27
Opposition view: ”It is a game we are all looking forward to,” said Posh boss Grant McCann. “The lads trained well on Monday and a game under the lights in front of a big crowd is the perfect game for us following the weekend. I am sure the supporters will create a good atmosphere. The fans have been talking about the game for a number of weeks now and there has been a lot of anticipation ahead of the fixture.”
Cobblers connection: Harry Beautyman and Gabriel Zakuani are two recent additions to the list of players to play for both Peterborough and Northampton, and the duo could return to London Road as starters this evening. The two were regulars for Posh last season, making 55 appearances between them, but now find themselves on the other side of the fence having switched allegiances in the summer. Zakuani in particular will be keen to start tonight and make amends for what happened the last time these clubs played each other when he was sent off after just seven minutes.
James Heneghan’s preview: When the Sky Bet League One fixtures were announced back in June, attentions in Northampton and Peterborough immediately focused on tonight’s clash as two old foes renew their fiery rivalry seven years on from the last battle.
And with neither team in the greatest of form, this is a crunch game for both.
It’s been a case of three steps forward, two back for Rob Page and his side so far this season, but perhaps tonight’s eagerly-anticipated derby at Peterborough can spark the Cobblers back into life.
Consistency is the buzz word for managers at this stage of the season and that’s no different for Page who’s seen his team go three league games without a win having clocked up four victories in five prior to that.
After promotion and a summer of change, it’s not all that surprising that the Cobblers are yet to really settle into a rhythm in what is a competitive division this season, and there remains kinks to iron out.
But ninth place after 12 games represents a solid start and one which can be significantly improved with three points at London Road.
Peterborough too have been out-of-sorts in recent weeks, winning just once in their last 10 outings in all competitions, so this is a prime opportunity for both sides to not just claim the bragging rights but to also steady the ship and get back on track.
Posh are a team who love to attack – only Bury have had more shots this season and only Scunthorpe have scored more goals – but it’s at the other end where their vulnerabilities lie, so goals should be expected.
Defence had been a strong point for Northampton up until the weekend’s horror show against Millwall and those issues must be resolved in time for tonight if they want to give themselves a realistic chance of coming away with all three points.
Gabriel Zakuani lasted just seven minutes before being sent off when these two clubs last met and given their recent discipline problems, Northampton will be desperate not to see a repeat this evening.
The former Peterborough man should come back in after sitting out Saturday’s abject defensive display against Millwall, while Rob Page has decisions to make when it comes to his midfield.
Recent regulars Matty Taylor and Jak McCourt are both suspended which may well pave the way for a rare opportunity for Joel Byrom, who’s played just 19 minutes of league football this term, to come in and rekindle his partnership with John-Joe O’Toole after the pair formed an instrumental part of last season’s title success.
Alternatively, Page might be tempted to push the boat out and start both Marc Richards and Alex Revell up front, which would be a bold move, or Sam Hoskins could regain a place in the side after his vibrant cameo off the bench on Saturday.
For Posh, injured trio Jermaine Anderson, Lee Angol and Brad Inman are the only absentees as Marcus Maddison and Michael Bostwick return to the squad having missed Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Fleetwood due to illness.
Appointed in May, Grant McCann, who appeared over 150 times as a player for United, has had a mixed start to his first managerial role, with Posh currently 11th in League One, two places and one point adrift of tonight’s opponents.
Both sides will fancy their chances but only one can prevail.
There’s nothing quite like a feisty local derby to get the adrenaline flowing and the blood pumping. The stage is almost set.
Prediction: Peterborough United 2 Northampton Town 2