James Heneghan's Northampton Town v Cambridge United preview

Fixture: Northampton Town v Cambridge United, Sky Bet League Two

Friday, 25th October 2019, 1:53 pm
Harry Smith scored the only goal when Cobblers beat Cambridge in an EFL Trophy tie earlier this month. Picture: Pete Norton

Date/time: Saturday, October 26, 3pm kick-off

Venue: PTS Academy Stadium

Forecast: 10C, rain showers

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Outs and doubts: Northampton: Joe Martin, Ryan Watson. Cambridge: George Maris, Dan Jones, Gary Deegan, Jabo Ibehre, Liam O’Neil, Samir Carruthers, Greg Taylor

Betting: Northampton 23/20, draw 12/5, Cambridge 9/4

Form guide: Cobblers WWLWLD, United DWLLDD

Current league positions: 9th v 11th

Marc Richards has three goals for Cambridge this season

Possible line-ups: Northampton (4-2-3-1): Cornell; Harriman, Goode, Turnbull, Wharton; McCormack, McWilliams; Hoskins, Pollock, Adams; Williams. Cambridge (3-5-2): Mitov; Knoyle, Ward, Taft; Hannant, Lewis, Lambe, Roles, Dunk; Smith, Richards

Man in the middle: Graham Salisbury

Last time out: Carlisle 0 Northampton 2 (Pollock, Hoskins); Cambridge 0 Grimsby 0

Most recent meeting: Tuesday, October 8, 2019, EFL Trophy - Cambridge 0 Northampton 1 (Smith)

Record v Cambridge: P41 W15 D12 L14

James Heneghan's preview: Two wins in four days has given Cobblers' season a much-needed shot in the arm but there is no time to be resting on any laurels because another three points are up for grabs when their old boss and a former striker come to town this weekend.

Fifteen games in, we are now entering the meat of the season and while things have changed quickly in Town's favour over the past week, it can work the other way too so they'll be keen to stay onboard the momentum train and crown a perfect week at the expense of Colin Calderwood's Cambridge United on Saturday.

Seven days ago the mood was subdued and expectations had been lowered but victory over Salford City was followed by a similar success in midweek when Cobblers slowly and gradually warmed to their task before overcoming Carlisle United in relatively convincing fashion.

As a result, Town have now shifted themselves to a much healthier position in the League Two standings. They linger on the outskirts of the play-off positions and with victory on Saturday they could get right in amongst it.

Separated by just two places and one point in the table and having scored and conceded a similar number of goals, Northampton and Cambridge have experienced different journeys to reach almost the same point 15 games into the season.

While the Cobblers have been up and down, Cambridge were quick out of the blocks and have occupied a top-10 place for the majority of the campaign. It's only in recent weeks - with one win in six league games - that they have begun to falter.

But although they were held to a goalless draw by Grimsby Town in midweek, an excellent 4-0 victory over high-flying Exeter City on their previous outing shows that, on their day, Calderwood's men can mix it with the finest League Two has to offer.

Calderwood returns to Sixfields for the first time since his appointment as Cambridge boss last December and with him he brings ex-Cobblers striker Marc Richards, who is still going strong aged 37 and has three goals in 16 appearances after signing for the U's on a free transfer in August.

Cobblers' defence, which has kept consecutive clean sheets, will be hoping to keep him and also United's other main threats quiet.

Saturday should provide Curle's men with another good test and it's games like this one that they will need to win if flashes of promise are to become something more substantial.

Prediction: Northampton Town 2 Cambridge United 1