James Heneghan's Northampton Town v Swindon Town preview

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

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 11:36 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 11:37 am
Andy Williams scored the winner at Swindon earlier in the season

Date/time: Tuesday, February 11, 7.45pm kick-off

Venue: PTS Academy Stadium

Forecast: 4C, cloudy

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Outs and doubts: Cobblers: Alan McCormack, James Olayinka, Harry Smith, Shaun McWilliams. Swindon: Mathieu Baudry, Jerry Yates, Keshi Anderson

Betting: Northampton 13/8, draw 5/2, Swindon 13/8

Form guide: Cobblers LLWWDD, Robins DWLWLW

Current league positions: 6th v 1st

Possible line-ups: Northampton (3-5-2): Cornell; Jones, Goode, Wharton; Watson, Lines, Anderson, Marshall, Adams; Hoskins, Oliver. Swindon (4-3-3): Benda; Caddis, Fryers, Edmonds-Green, Hunt; Jaiyesimi, Doughty, Grant; Muskwe, Hope, Doyle.

Man in the middle: James Adcock

Last time out: Northampton 0 Port Vale 1; Carlisle 1 Swindon 1 (Edmonds-Green)

Most recent meeting: Tuesday, August 20, 2019 - Swindon Town 0 Northampton Town 1 (Williams)

Cobblers must find a way to stop Eoin Doyle, the country's leading scorer this season

Record v Swindon: P104 W35 D22 L47

James Heneghan's preview: The visit of long-time leaders Swindon Town to the PTS this evening was always going to be a pivotal moment in Northampton's season but their defeat to Port Vale on Saturday has cranked up the pressure by another notch.

Cobblers remain well-placed in Sky Bet League Two despite losing a tight game to promotion rivals Vale but though they still have a cushion to those below them, they now face the challenge of trying to consolidate their play-off spot while still maintaining realistic hope of automatic promotion.

By the end of this week it will be clearer exactly how high the Cobblers can aim. Return a strong haul from games against Swindon and Walsall and there's no reason why they can't have a crack at the top three. Likewise, though, fail to win either and their play-off place will look vulnerable.

Keith Curle's men have an impressive record against strong opposition this season but it doesn't get much tougher than the league leaders and the EFL's third highest goalscorers.

Swindon have led the division since November 16 and at one point were threatening to run away with it, particularly when Eoin Doyle scored in 11 games running across October, November and December.

Doyle is back at the Robins after briefly returning to Bradford City last month but Swindon have stuttered a little of late despite his return. Two wins and two defeats in their last five has allowed others to gradually close the gap. They could even lose top spot this evening should they be beaten at the PTS and Crewe defeat Crawley.

Northampton themselves would only be five points adrift with a game in hand with victory tonight so there's plenty at stake on both sides.

Doyle is of course the chief threat and he remains the country's leading marksmen with 23 goals in all competitions this season, despite netting just once in his past eight matches.

Doyle is far from the only danger man, however. Strike partner Jerry Yates has 12 goals of his own while January signing Hallam Hope opened his account during Swindon's win over rivals Exeter City 10 days ago.

Cobblers' first win of the season came in the reverse fixture in August when Andy Williams scored a highly controversial winner, leaving Wellens to berate the officials and aim a dig at Curle's tactics. Town have only gone more direct and become better at it since that meeting so Wellens should at least know what his time will come up against.

There are still 14 games to go after tonight so this fixture is by no means the be all and end all, but three points would go a long way for both clubs.

Prediction: Northampton Town 2 Swindon Town 2