James Heneghan's Northampton Town v Macclesfield Town preview

Daniel Powell scores against Macclesfield last season. Picture: Pete Norton
Daniel Powell scores against Macclesfield last season. Picture: Pete Norton

Fixture: Northampton Town v Macclesfield Town, Sky Bet League Two

Date/time: Saturday, August 17, 3pm kick-off

Venue: PTS Academy Stadium

Forecast: 19C, sunny spells

Outs and doubts: Cobblers: Reece Hall-Johnson, Alan McCormack, Steve Arnold

Betting: Northampton 17/20, draw 12/5, Macclesfield 10/3

Form guide: Cobblers LDL, Silkmen DWL

Possible line-ups: Northampton (4-2-3-1): Cornell; McWilliams, Goode, Wharton, Martin; Lines, Watson; Adams, Warburton, Hoskins; Smith. Macclesfield (3-4-3): Evans; Welch-Hayes, Kelleher, Vassell; Archibald, McCourt, Harry, Clarke; Stephens, Osadebe, Ironside.

Man in the middle: James Oldham

Last time out: Swansea 3 Northampton 1 (Warburton); Blackpool 2 Macclesfield 2 (Bushiri, Gomis)

Most recent meeting: Friday, April 19, 2019 - Northampton Town 3 (Bowditch, Powell, Morias) Macclesfield Town 1 (Smith)

Record v Macclesfield: P18 W11 D2 L5

James Heneghan's preview: All the pre-match pieces drafted in the days leading up to this League Two fixture at the PTS Stadium have been ripped up and thrown out of the window following news of Sol Campbell's shock departure as Macclesfield Town boss.

Mounting financial problems and now no manager in the dugout, the Silkmen may well have made a steady start to the new season on the pitch but it's an entirely different story off it.

The announcement that Campbell has left his post as manager on Thursday would have surprised those not keeping a close eye on developments at Moss Rose but delve a little deeper into the latest tale of financial woe at an EFL club and it's more surprising that he lasted as long as he did.

Macclesfield's off-field issues have gone under the radar compared to Bolton and Bury but the future of the club is very much in the balance. Only this week a winding-up petition lodged by a group of former players was dismissed by the High Court and taken over by HMRC.

The case involved the non-payment of Shamir Mullings, Elliott Durrell, Rhys Taylor, Jamie Grimes, Ryan Lloyd and Keith Lowe, who were accused of 'trying to close down' the 145-year-old club after they used the petition to claw back unpaid wages.

"At no point did they want Macclesfield Town go out of existence, they just wanted what they were owed," said David Seligman, the players' lawyer. "They aren't Premier League footballers, they are earning very modest salaries, living month-to-month, paying rent, for food, for their children, and they couldn't afford it."

HMRC has now become the petitioning creditor and the case has been adjourned until September 11, by which time the club claim 'the matter will be resolved'. Reports in the last 24 hours also suggest Campbell hadn't been paid for the final four months of his reign. It's no wonder he had enough.

On the pitch, the Silkmen lost 1-0 away at Exeter City on the opening weekend but the 17 shots they took that day - more than double the home side's eight - hinted of a better campaign ahead and they duly followed it up by thrashing newly-promoted Leyton Orient 3-0 seven days later.

An upset of Blackpool in the Carabao Cup, albeit on penalties, followed in midweek but celebrations were short-lived as Macclesfield announced Campbell's departure within 48 hours. The club are yet to name a replacement but Darren Currie, currently at Barnet, is reportedly their main target.

How all this impacts the Cobblers will only become evident during Saturday's match and it could well go one of two ways: Macclesfield's players may feel either galvanised or deflated. The answer will come at 3pm tomorrow.

Whilst Macc were dumping out Blackpool on Tuesday, Town were close to causing their own upset and only a late rescue act from multi-million pound man Andre Ayew prevented a first win of the season at Championship side Swansea City.

But the performance, up until 80 minutes anyway, was an encouraging one and the individual showings of some players, namely Shaun McWilliams in central midfield, has given manager Keith Curle something to ponder when he comes to select his team.

McWIlliams could well start tomorrow but it's unlikely to come in his preferred central midfield position. Rather, with Reece Hall-Johnson expected to be out injured, he might be shoehorned in a right-back, where he featured regularly in pre-season.

A lot of the outside attention will be on the visitors tomorrow but this is an important game for the Cobblers. Already there are murmurs of frustration and fears that another season might fall by the wayside. There is, fortunately, a simple solution to cutting out the negative noise: winning.

Prediction: Northampton Town 3 Macclesfield Town 1