James Heneghan's Northampton Town v Shrewsbury Town preview
Fixture: Northampton Town v Shrewsbury Town, Sky Bet League One
Date/time: Monday, April 17, 3pm kick-off
Forecast: 10C, showers
Outs and doubts: Cobblers: Michael Smith (leg), Luke Williams (hamstring), Gabriel Zakuani (hamstring), Sam Hoskins (knee). Shrewsbury: Abu Ogogo (knee), Tyler Roberts (leg)
Betting: Northampton 13/10, draw 23/10, Shrewsbury 2/1
Form guide: Cobblers LLDDLW, Shrews DWLLLL
Avg. goals scored/conceded per game: Northampton 1.4/1.6, Shrewsbury 1.0/1.4
Likely line-ups: Northampton (4-4-2): Smith; Moloney, Diamond, Nyatanga, Buchanan; Taylor, Anderson, Boateng, O’Toole; Revell, Richards. Shrewsbury (4-4-2): Leutwiler; Grimmer, Sadler, Nsiala, Brown; Whalley, Deegan, Morris, Rodman; Dodds, Payne.
Man in the middle: Charles Breakspear
Last time out: Millwall 3 (O’Brien, Wallace 2) Northampton 0; Shrewsbury 1 (Payne) Walsall 1 (Morris)
Most recent meeting: Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Shrewsbury 2 (Toney 2) Northampton 4 (Zakuani, Anderson 2, Hoskins)
Record v Shrewsbury: P50 W20 D9 L21
Opposition view: “I think Northampton will be looking at the game and thinking that this is the one that we win to make us 100% safe, so we know that they are going to be up for it and we’ve got to match that,” Shrewsbury manager Paul Hurst told the club’s website this weekend.
“They’ve changed the system slightly a couple of times. I think we’ve got an idea of how they will go against us and we’ve got to be up for that physical side of the game, which they certainly have and then try and play some football if possible.”
James Heneghan’s preview: Easter Monday’s visit of Shrewsbury Town presents the Cobblers with a golden opportunity to finally register their 15th and most important win of the season as they look to ease relegation nerves.
The fact there are even doubts over their League One status at this late stage of the season is a mark of a disappointing campaign but, even so, Friday’s heavy defeat at Millwall means they still have work to do.
Fortunately, top scorer John-Joe O’Toole is fit and fighting and his presence back in midfield will restore some balance while Brendan Moloney and Alex Revell should also return to the side.
Revel is likely to take the place of Michael Smith, who was forced off early in Friday’s game, and Luke Williams, set to miss the rest of the season, will make way for O’Toole.
One or both of Hiram Boateng and Jak McCourt may also make an appearance, particular in the wake of performances from certain individuals against Millwall.
While Northampton seek only a point to alleviate relegation concerns, their visitors on Monday require much more and will be determined to leave Sixfields with all three to steer clear of danger.
After an initial upturn in form under Paul Hurst threatened to take them towards the comforts of mid-table, Shrewsbury’s recent run has kept them in the mix, managing only one win in the last eight.
Their away form hardly makes for better reading having picked up just three all season but a 1-1 draw against Walsall last time out has manoeuvred them two points above the drop and perhaps only one win away from safety.
For the second time in four days the Cobblers are playing a team who need the points more than they do. A hungry and sharp Millwall played that way on Friday, this time Northampton must ensure they are switched on and up for it from the off.
Prediction: Northampton Town 2 Shrewsbury Town 1