James Heneghan's Morecambe v Northampton Town preview

Fixture: Morecambe v Northampton Town, Sky Bet League Two

Friday, 27th September 2019, 12:53 pm
Cobblers drew 1-1 when they last played Morecambe.

Date/time: Saturday, September 28, 3pm kick-off

Venue: Globe Arena

Forecast: 15C, cloudy

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Outs and doubts: Shrimps: Luke Conlan, Alex Kenyon, Tom Brewitt. Cobblers: Steve Arnold, Alan McCormack, Ryan Watson, Reece Hall-Johnson

Betting: Morecambe 21/10, draw 5/2, Northampton 6/5

Form guide: Shrimps LLLDLL, Cobblers DWWLLW

Current league positions: 22nd v 12th

Possible line-ups: Morecambe (4-4-2): Roche; Buxton, Lavelle, Old, Tanner; O'Sullivan, Wildig, Tutte, Oates; Alessandra, Miller. Northampton (4-3-3): Cornell; Harriman, Goode, Wharton, Martin; Turnbull, Lines, McWilliams; Hoskins, Adams, Williams.

Man in the middle: Martin Coy

Last time out: Oldham 3 Morecambe 1 (Miller); Northampton 2 (Lines, McWilliams) Crawley 2

Most recent meeting: Saturday, January 26, 2019 - Northampton 1 (Elsnik) Morecambe 1 (Bennett)

Record v Morecambe: P16 W9 D5 L2

James Heneghan's preview: After putting the foundations in place for a potential promotion challenge this season, the Cobblers now have a golden opportunity to press on and really establish themselves as genuine contenders for a top-seven berth over this next month.

Improved and impressive recent performances have led to an upturn in results versus some of the more fancied sides in League Two, but tomorrow's trip to horribly out-of-form Morecambe is the first of a run of games against teams who have been slow to get going this season.

One cliche often churned out in football is that there are no easy games but if the Cobblers were to handpick their next opposition following the heartache of last weekend's last-gasp draw to Crawley Town, Morecambe would be right at the top of the list.

Currently 22nd in Sky Bet League Two, Morecambe's form, particularly in recent times, makes for painful reading. They've conceded more goals than anyone else in the division, have the worst goal difference in the division and are on a run of seven defeats in eight games across all competitions.

During that horror run, they've conceded 24 goals, scored just seven and suffered 4-0, 5-1, 3-0 and two 3-1 defeats. To put it another way: the Cobblers must see this game as a glaring opportunity to hit the accelerator.

Morecambe made a similarly dreadful start to last season and it was only victory over Northampton that belatedly kick-started things as they managed to scramble around for enough points to stay away from relegation, eventually finishing 18th.

Jim Bentley, currently the longest-serving manager in the EFL, often sees his side tipped for relegation by bookmakers and pundits alike but they always seem to accumulate enough points to just avoid the drop, and with only one team relegated this year following Bury's expulsion, they have every chance of doing likewise again.

Despite victory to Colchester United a few days later, Cobblers' defeat at the Globe Arena 12 months ago felt the beginning of the end for Dean Austin, who eventually lost his job 10 games into the season.

We're at the same point this year but, having managed to double Town's points tally, Keith Curle is a long way from suffering the same fate although what happens next will ultimately sway supporters one way or the other.

Because whilst 12th place and 14 points represents a steady and respectable start, if a promotion challenge is to materialise over the coming weeks and months, Curle knows his team can't afford to standstill and let other sides get away from them.

Currently three points adrift of seventh and six behind third, it would only take two quick wins to put them right in the mix.

Prediction: Morecambe 1 Northampton Town 3