James Heneghan's Swansea City v Northampton Town preview

David Cornell returns home this evening. The Cobblers goalkeeper progressed through the youth ranks at Swansea City. Picture: Pete Norton
David Cornell returns home this evening. The Cobblers goalkeeper progressed through the youth ranks at Swansea City. Picture: Pete Norton

Fixture: Swansea City v Northampton Town, Carabao Cup first round

Date/time: Tuesday, August 13, 7.45pm kick-off

Leon Britton in action for Swansea when they last played Northampton in 2008.

Leon Britton in action for Swansea when they last played Northampton in 2008.

Venue: Liberty Stadium

Forecast: 16C, sunny spells

Outs and doubts: Swansea: Tom Carroll. Cobbers: Steve Arnold, Vadaine Oliver, Alan McCormack

Betting: Swansea 1/2, draw 3/1, Northampton 5/1

Form guide: Swansea DW, Cobblers DL

Possible Cobblers line-up: Cornell, Hall-Johnson, Goode, Turnbull, Bunney, McWilliams, Watson, Pollock, Adams, Morias, Williams.

Man in the middle: Kevin Johnson

Last time out: Derby County 0 Swansea City 0; Port Vale 1 Northampton Town 1 (Watson)

Most recent meeting: Saturday, March 15, 2008 - Northampton 4 (Hubertz 2, Tate OG, Jackman) Swansea 2 (Scotland 2)

Record v Swansea City: P50 W18 D10 L22

Opposition view: "We're taking it very seriously and we absolutely want to be ready," said Swans boss Steve Cooper. "The objective for us is to get the idea of how we want to play right at the top level. We're still getting towards that, but the intentions are right and the progress is good."

Cobblers connection: Goalkeeper David Cornell progressed through the academy at Swansea City but only played one senior game for the Welsh club. His sole appearance came in a home cup defeat to Scunthorpe United in 2009 when Swansea had three men sent off.

Cornell had loan spells at Hereford, St Mirren and Portsmouth before moving to England permanently when signing for Oldham Athletic in 2015. A year and 17 appearances later, the 28-year-old switched to the Cobblers and has been there ever since, playing 72 matches across three and a bit seasons.

James Heneghan's preview: Aside from the improbable notion of winning, there are two chief targets for the Cobblers when they head across the border into South Wales this evening: the first is to play well, the second is to find out which fringe players are capable of giving Keith Curle a selection headache.

Winning is always the primary objective - even more so for a team without too many of late - but the importance of the result on Tuesday evening is lessened somewhat by both the stature of the opposition and the fact this is a League Cup tie, placing it low on the list of priorities.

Curle has the opportunity to shuffle his pack and take a look at those players who have seen their game-time restricted so far, such as Shaun McWilliams, Jordan Turnbull and Andy Williams. There's also the youngsters to consider with Scott Pollock and Jay Williams among those chomping at the bit.

That said, given the relentless nature of the upcoming fixture list - seven games in the next 21 days - Curle, who's not exactly afraid of making changes in any case, is sure to have ample opportunity to tinker with his starting XI.

The extent of Swansea's rise - and how Town have stagnated - is reflected in the fact that, when these two teams last met, it came in League One at Sixfields just over 11 years ago. Poul Hubertz scored twice in a 4-2 home victory.

Since then, City have experienced seven seasons in the top flight, including two top-10 finishes, while Town have yo-yoed between the bottom two tiers of England's Football League pyramid.

After relegation in 2017, Swansea are back in the Championship and have new management this season following Graham Potter's move to Brighton. Now at the helm is World Cup-winning coach Steve Cooper who famously led England U17s to global glory in 2017.

Cooper's reign started with a home win over Hull before they were held to a goalless draw at Derby County and he's continued to play the traditional Swansea City way: possession-based, patient passing football.

The Cobblers are therefore unlikely to see much of the ball on Tuesday night but whilst it's a tough assignment in South Wales, it's also an opportunity. An opportunity to play well, to gain confidence and to give other players the chance to impress. And if everything comes together, it's also an opportunity to register a first win of the season.

Prediction: Swansea City 2 Northampton Town 0