James Heneghan's Peterborough United v Northampton Town preview

Fixture: Peterborough United v Northampton Town, Sky Bet League One

Friday, 16th April 2021, 11:58 am
The last six league meetings have all ended in a Posh victory, including Town's last visit to London Road in April 2018. It proved to be Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's final game in charge.

Date/time: Friday, April 16, 7.45pm kick-off

Venue: London Road

Forecast: 7C, sunny spells

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Outs and doubts: Peterborough: Ronnie Edwards. Cobblers: Mickel Miller, Jack Sowerby, Steve Arnold, Peter Kioso, Alex Jones, Benny Ashley-Seal.

Betting: Peterborough 1/2, draw 3/1, Northampton 13/2

Form guide: Posh WDWWLD, Cobblers DLWLWL

Current league positions: 2nd v 21st

Possible line-ups: Peterborough (4-4-1-1): Bursik; Thompson, Kent, Beevers, Butler; Ward, Brown, Taylor, Dembele; Szmodics; Clarke-Harris. Northampton (4-4-2): Mitchell; Harriman, Horsfall, L Jones, Mills; McWilliams, Morris, Watson, Hoskins; Edmondson, Rose.

Man in the middle: Lee Swabey

Last time out: Swindon Town 0 Peterborough United 3 (Dembele 2, Clarke-Harris); Northampton Town 1 (Hoskins) Bristol Rovers 1 (Leahy)

Most recent meeting: Saturday, October 10, 2020 - Northampton 0 Peterborough 2 (Thompson, Brown)

Record v Peterborough: P71 W20 D18 L33

James Heneghan's preview: In normal circumstances, a trip to the team sitting second in the league and on course for automatic promotion could be seen as something of a free hit for a side desperately fighting for their lives at the other end of the table.

But for the Cobblers, these are no longer normal circumstances, and when it comes to playing Peterborough United, it is no normal game.

There is always lots on the line when these two come to blows but tonight's derby under the London Road lights is a particularly significant occasion for reasons at both ends of the table.

Because whilst the Cobblers are trying to fight and scrap their way to League One survival, Peterborough will be aiming to take another significant step towards ending their seven-season exile from England's second tier.

Darren Ferguson's side are second in the table and have a five-point cushion in the race for automatic promotion. Boosted by Jonson Clarke-Harris' 27 goals, they are also the second highest scorers in the division with 70, more than double Town's tally of 34.

Then you factor in recent history between these two. It's now 15 years since the Cobblers beat their biggest rivals in any competition and tonight they are hoping to avoid a seventh straight league loss in this fixture.

The grim reality is that, whichever way you look at it from a Cobblers perspective, the omens are not good.

And the news is no better on the injury front. Striker Alex Jones, just when it looked as if he would get his first start, has joined Jon Brady's growing injury list this week. Seven players - Jones, Benny Ashley-Seal, Mickel Miller, Jack Sowerby, Peter Kioso, Mark Marshall and Steve Arnold - are either out or doubtful for tonight's game.

But if the Cobblers need some inspiration, they do not have far to look. It was only three days ago when Wigan Athletic pulled off one of the shocks of the season by coming from 1-0 down to beat Sunderland 2-1.

We have now entered that period of the season where surprising and unexpected results become more common as tensions rise and the pressure mounts. Local derbies too can sometimes be a bit of a leveller.

"It doesn’t matter in derbies where you are in the table," said Brady this week. "It’s a one-off game and it’s hugely important for us to show that we’re are giving everything for the cause.

“We’ll prep the players and make no mistake, they know this is a local derby and they know that, to get a result against them, would be huge for this football club."

This is no free hit for the Cobblers. With times and games running out, it's now or never.

Prediction: Peterborough United 2 Northampton Town 0