James Heneghan's Northampton Town v Colchester United preview

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

Date/time: Saturday, February 19, 2pm kick-off

Venue: Sixfields

Forecast: 7C, showers

Jon Guthrie scored the only goal of the game when Cobblers played Colchester back in August. Picture: Pete Norton.Jon Guthrie scored the only goal of the game when Cobblers played Colchester back in August. Picture: Pete Norton.
Jon Guthrie scored the only goal of the game when Cobblers played Colchester back in August. Picture: Pete Norton.

Outs and doubts: Cobblers: Shaun McWilliams, Josh Eppiah, Jack Sowerby, Aaron McGowan, Chanka Zimba, Idris Kanu, Sid Nelson. Colchester: John Akinde, Noah Chilvers, Tom Dallison.

Betting: Northampton 7/10, draw 13/5, Colchester 17/4

Form guide: Cobblers DWWLWD, United DLWDDW

Current league positions: 4th v 21st

Possible line-ups: Northampton (3-4-3): Roberts; Magloire, Horsfall, Guthrie; Hoskins, Pollock, Lewis, Koiki; Pinnock, Lubala, Appere. Colchester (3-4-3): Hornby; Eastman, Chambers, Smith; Tchamadeu, Skuse, Sarpong-Wiredu, Kenlock; Judge, Sears, Edwards

Man in the middle: Ben Toner

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Last time out: Port Vale 0 Northampton 0, Colchester 2 (Smith, Wright) Carlisle 2

Most recent meeting: Saturday, August 14, 2021 - Colchester 0 Northampton 1 (Guthrie)

Record v Colchester United: P74 W31 D14 L29

James Heneghan's preview: Having come through a tricky run of fixtures against promotion rivals relatively unscathed, Cobblers now turn their focus to teams at the other end of the table.

None of their next four opponents, starting with Colchester United this weekend and followed by Scunthorpe, Rochdale and Walsall, will feel safe from relegation danger.

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But whilst all four currently occupy a place in the bottom seven, nothing can be taken for granted. Walsall beat high-flying Tranmere only last weekend, Colchester have recently claimed impressive scalps at Salford and Leyton Orient and Northampton themselves saw first-hand what can happen if you're not quite at it when beaten by Barrow.

Cobblers have performed well when faced with teams around them in the table but now they go into games with the onus on them to attack and play on the front foot. That has not always been their strength this season.

Jon Brady is also having to contend with a growing injury list. Aaron McGowan and Josh Eppiah are both doubts but the biggest problems come in central midfield where Shaun McWilliams will miss the next two games through suspension and Jack Sowerby continues to battle a knee issue.

That could mean an opportunity for either Scott Pollock or 17-year-old Peter Abimbola. Pollock would be the popular choice among supporters and whilst he has again had his injury struggles this season, he recently gained some important match minutes in behind-closed-doors friendlies.

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Sowerby will likely start alongside Paul Lewis if fit but, if not, tomorrow may be an excellent opportunity for Pollock - or Abimbola - to come in and lay down a marker. Whoever starts at Sixfields though, this is the sort of game that Cobblers need to be winning if promotion dreams are to become reality.

Prediction: Northampton Town 2 Colchester United 0

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