James Heneghan's Northampton Town v Grimsby Town preview

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

Friday, 22nd November 2019, 11:28 am
Neither Grimsby nor the Cobblers could break the deadlock during a drab goalless draw in their last meeting

Date/time: Saturday, November 23, 3pm kick-off

Venue: PTS Academy Stadium

Forecast: 8C, showers

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Outs and doubts: Cobblers: Ryan Watson, Shaun McWilliams. Grimsby: Luke Hendrie, Max Wright, Ludvig Öhman, Moses Ogbu, Matt Green, Mattie Pollock

Betting: Northampton 19/20, draw 23/10, Grimsy 11/4

Form guide: Cobblers WWDWWW, Mariners LDLDLL

Current league positions: 7th v 18th

Possible line-ups: Northampton (3-5-2): Cornell; Goode, Turnbull, Wharton; Hoskins, Adams, McCormack, Lines, Anderson; Oliver, Williams. Grimsby (3-5-2): McKeown; Waterfall, Davis, Ohman; Hewitt, Gibson, Cook, Hessenthaler, Robson; Rose, Hanson.

Man in the middle: Andy Haines

Last time out: Northampton Town 4 (Wharton 2, Hoskins, Williams) Crewe Alexandra 1; Newport County 2 Grimsby Town 0

Most recent meeting: Saturday, March 16, 2019 - Grimsby 0 Northampton 0

Record v Grimsby: P38 W16 D9 L13

James Heneghan's preview: For those of a cynical nature, it was perhaps convenient timing when audio of Michael Jolley's expletive-laden rant at a journalist emerged just as Grimsby Town's form took a dramatic nosedive.

After a 3-1 victory at then-league leaders Exeter City on September 28, Grimsby occupied a top seven spot in Sky Bet League Two and were only four points off top spot following an encouraging start to the season.

But they've not won a game in any competition since and when Jolley's remarkable rant found itself in the public domain last week, his departure from the club, confirmed seven days ago, was somewhat inevitable.

He swore 58 times in four minutes as he angrily confronted a BBC journalist in the aftermath of last month's 4-0 defeat against Leyton Orient and that, combined with his side's seven-game winless run - now eight after Wednesday's FA Cup replay defeat at Newport County - spelled the end for Jolley.

He's been replaced on an interim basis by his assistant Anthony Limbrick and while the league table, on first viewing, looks grim for the 18th-placed Mariners, further inspection reveals they have three games in hand and would, theoretically, move level on points with Northampton should they win all three.

Meanwhile, things are almost going too smoothly for Keith Curle and the Cobblers, who are six games unbeaten and could, though unlikely, move into the top three with victory at the PTS this weekend.

Town's fine run has put them right into the heat of the battle for play-off places but improvement is still needed if they are to stay there. As Curle acknowledged himself, last week's 4-1 win over Crewe, whilst convincing on paper, could have ended very differently had the visitors made more of their many first-half chances.

By and large, though, the Cobblers look to be on an upward trajectory and with Ryan Watson and Joe Martin closing on a return, Curle certainly has more options to pick from this weekend than his counterpart Limbrick, who is hamstrung by injury and suspension and may well be without seven players at the PTS.

Of Northampton's last eight games, they've won six. In the same time, Grimsby have won none. The visitors are also without a full-time manager and have mounting injury problems while Curle has close to a fully-fit squad to pick from.

It's all falling into place for the Cobblers but, as we know all too well, football is so rarely that straightforward.

Prediction: Northampton Town 2 Grimsby Town 0