James Heneghan's Northampton Town v Hull City preview

Cobblers last played Hull 16 years ago, winning 3-2 in Division Three.Cobblers last played Hull 16 years ago, winning 3-2 in Division Three.
Cobblers last played Hull 16 years ago, winning 3-2 in Division Three.
Fixture: Northampton Town v Hull City, Sky Bet League One

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

Venue: PTS Academy Stadium

Forecast: 12C, cloudy

A youthful Marc Richards was on target in 2004.A youthful Marc Richards was on target in 2004.
A youthful Marc Richards was on target in 2004.

Outs and doubts: Cobblers: Fraser Horsfall, Luka Racic, Nicky Adams, Harry Smith, Benny Ashley-Seal, Shaun McWilliams, Joe Nuttall, Ricky Korboa, Scott Pollock. Tigers: Richie Smallwood, Tom Eaves

Betting: Northampton 5/2, draw 5/2, Hull 11/10

Form guide: Cobblers WLDLW, Tigers LWDWL

Possible line-ups: Northampton (3-4-1-2): Arnold; Horsfall, Bolger, Martin; Harriman, Missilou, Watson, Mills; Hoskins; Warburton, Chukwuemeka. Hull (4-4-2): Ingram; Emmanuel, De Wijs, Burke, Elder; Batty, Honeyman, Docherty, Wilks; Magennis, Lewis-Potter.

Man in the middle: Alan Young

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Last time out: Shrewsbury 1 Northampton 2 (Marshall, Hoskins); West Ham 5 Hull City 1 (Magennis)

Most recent meeting: Saturday, April 10, 2004 - Hull City 2 (Elliott, Dawson) Northampton Town 3 (Richards, Sabin 2)

Record v Hull: P17 W7 D3 L7

Opposition view: “I think as much as we want to play free-flowing football like we did against Leeds, sometimes we’re going to have to find different ways to win - that’s the challenge of League One," Tigers boss Grant McCann told the Hull Daily Mail. “Northampton like to play on the front foot. It’s going to be an exciting game and they have a good manager. We’ve got to be ready for the challenge and we have to be ready to stand up and fight.”

James Heneghan's preview: Four points from fixtures against Wimbledon and Shrewsbury represents a solid start to life back in League One for the Cobblers but things step up a few notches with the visit of Hull City this weekend.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Hull were a Premier League side just three years ago and they would still be a Championship outfit if not for a horrific second half of 2019/20. Remarkably, Hull were eighth and level on points with a play-off place at the turn of the year before things spectacularly unravelled.

The loss of key men Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki in January was followed by just one win and six points from 20 games, culminating in their relegation on the final day of the season.

To the surprise - and perhaps disappointment - of many Hull fans, manager Grant McCann kept his job and is now under huge pressure to deliver an immediate return to the Championship. His squad has undergone significant reconstruction this summer as nine players have come in, with paid money for midfielder Greg Docherty from Rangers and full-back Lewis Coyle from Fleetwood.

And despite the Championship season finishing just two months ago, so far Hull have done a good job of shrugging off the disappointment of relegation by beating both Gillingham and Crewe in their first two games, although they were thumped 5-1 by West Ham in the EFL Cup in midweek.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"It’s been a short and sobering summer for Hull City," writes reporter Phillip Buckingham from Hull Live. "Relegated from the Championship with the mother of all capitulations, they now find themselves at their lowest level since 2004-05. The recent days of reaching the Premier League and an FA Cup final suddenly feel an awfully long time ago.

"Grant McCann has attempted to regroup and has made no secret of his target to win promotion at the first attempt. To do so he will have to chase away the demons of 2020 and inject new belief into a squad that has forgotten how to win."

For the Cobblers, they knew their victory over Exeter City in June's play-off final would mean some tough tests and stern examinations lie in wait this season and that will hit home this weekend against one of the hot favourites for promotion.

But four points from two games is a more than respectable start, particularly when factoring in Keith Curle's lengthy injury list: eleven players were in queuing up for the treatment room after last week's gritty win at Shrewsbury Town.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A number of those could be back for Saturday, though who will actually be fit is anyone's guess as Curle continues to keep his cards close to his chest. At a guess, defenders Fraser Horsfall and Luka Racic are the most likely to return while Benny Ashley-Seal's leg problem picked up at New Meadow did not seem too serious.

Whilst you wouldn't go as far as to say this game is a free hit for Town, it should certainly provide an interesting barometer to see whether or not they are equipped to go toe-to-toe with the best League One has to offer. Any positive result would bode well for a decent campaign ahead.

Prediction: Northampton Town 2 Hull City 2

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.