James Heneghan's Oldham Athletic v Northampton Town preview

Fixture: Oldham Athletic v Northampton Town, Sky Bet League Two

Friday, 1st November 2019, 12:20 pm
Sam Hoskins scored a sensational goal in Cobblers' 5-2 win at Oldham on the final day of last season. Pictures: Pete Norton

Date/time: Saturday, November 2, 3pm kick-off

Venue: Boundary Park

Forecast: 10C, showers

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Outs and doubts: Oldham: Zak Mills, Johan Branger-Engone. Cobblers: Joe Martin, Ryan Watson

Betting: Oldham 6/4, draw 5/2, Northampton 13/8

Form guide: Latics DWLLLD, Cobblers WWWLWL

Current league positions: 19th v 8th

Aaron Pierre heads in at Boundary Park

Possible line-ups: Oldham (4-4-2): De La Paz; Hamer, Wheater, Stott, Iacovitti; Morais, McCann, Missilou, Smith; Wilson, Segbe Azankpo. Northampton (3-5-2): Cornell; Goode, Turnbull, Wharton; McWilliams, McCormack, Pollock, Hoskins, Adams; Smith, Williams.

Man in the middle: Peter Wright - Last refereed the Cobblers when they drew 2-2 at Exeter City last season.

Last time out: Port Vale 0 Oldham Athletic 0; Northampton 2 (Smith, Taft OG) Cambridge 0

Most recent meeting: Saturday, May 4, 2019 - Oldham Athletic 2 (Branger, Lang) Northampton Town 5 (Hoskins, Pierre, Williams 2, Morias)

Record v Oldham: P38 W13 D9 L16

Opposition view: "They're going to be strong, be organised defensively and we have to make sure we defend them properly as there will be a resilience to them with their attacking threat," said Latics boss Dino Maamria. "We have to expose their weaknesses which is to play football around them."

James Heneghan's preview: Cobblers' promotion credentials will be put through another acid test at Boundary Park this weekend when they go toe-to-toe with Dino Maamria's steadily improving Oldham Athletic side.

Three successive wins have put Keith Curle's men on the outskirts of the top seven but sustaining a promotion challenge tests a team's consistency across nine months, not one week.

The platform, though, has been laid and whilst it's perhaps taken a little longer than Keith Curle would have desired, his team now have momentum and confidence on their side, not to mention players returning from injury and hitting their straps.

We're now a third of the way through and League Two seems especially tight this season. The Cobblers, currently eighth, are six points behind leaders Crewe Alexandra and yet only five points clear of 19th. Two wins could put them in the top five, two defeats could drop them into the bottom half.

Their opponents this weekend are still searching for any kind of decent form.

Oldham changed their manager midway through September but even that couldn't get them going. They have only three league wins all season and occupy 19th in the current standings with a record of less than one point per game.

Dino Maamria, who replaced the sacked Laurent Banide, has overseen an improvement but it's been painfully slow. Beaten 6-1 by Mansfield Town last month, the Latics have certainly tightened things up at the back, conceding just once in three games and keeping successive clean sheets.

The Cobblers can beat that having shut out the opposition in three straight games ahead of tomorrow's trip north and Curle will be encouraged by the resilience and durability his side have developed in recent weeks.

There will not be wholesale changes at Boundary Park, though you can never be quite sure with Curle. He's played both 4-2-3-1 and 3-5-2 during Town's revival and wasn't afraid to make three changes between wins against Carlisle and Cambridge.

Of those not to start last time out, the most likely to come back in are Andy Williams alongside Harry Smith in attack or Michael Harriman in defence should Curle return to four in defence.

There were seven goals shared between these two teams in a thriller on the final day of last season. Although a repeat this weekend seems unlikely, a win of any kind would suit the Cobblers just fine.

Prediction: Oldham Athletic 0 Northampton Town 1