James Heneghan's Scunthorpe United v Northampton Town preview

Fixture: Scunthorpe United v Northampton Town, Sky Bet League Two

Friday, 11th October 2019, 12:30 pm
A bullet header from John-Joe O'Toole earned Cobblers a point on their last visit to Scunthorpe United.

Date/time: Saturday, October 12, 3pm kick-off

Venue: Glanford Park

Forecast: 14C, cloudy

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Outs and doubts: Jordan Hall, John McAtee, James Perch, Ryan Colclough. Cobblers: Ryan Watson

Betting: Iron 13/10, draw 23/10, Northampton 2/1

Form guide: United DDDLDW, Cobblers WLDDWW

Possible line-ups: Scunthorpe (4-4-2): Watson; Perch, Harrison, McGahey, Brown; Gilliead, Sutton, Sogno'o, Colclough; Novak, van Veen. Northampton (4-2-3-1): Cornell; Harriman, Goode, Wharton, Martin; Turnbull, Lines; McWilliams, Adams, Hoskins; Williams.

Man in the middle: Trevor Kettle

Last time out: Plymouth 2 Scunthorpe 2 (Gilliead, Eisa); Cambridge 0 Northampton 1 (Smith)

Most recent meeting: Saturday, February 17, 2018 - Scunthorpe 2 (Ojo, Wallace) Northampton 2 (Long, O'Toole)

Record v Scunthorpe: P65 W21 D19 L25

James Heneghan's preview: Saturday's fixture at Glanford Park brings together two teams who are having to play catch-up on the rest of League Two following a surprisingly slow start to the season.

Both Scunthorpe and Northampton were tipped by many to contend for promotion this season but they go into tomorrow's game sitting 22nd and 14th respectively and well off the early pace.

For United, it's been a particularly painful first couple of months. Relegated from League One last season, the appointment of Paul Hurst coupled with a batch of summer signings - including Andy Butler and Alex Gilliead - were meant to lead to a quick return to England's third tier.

That might still happen, of course, but they will have to do it the hard way. Hurst, who was sacked by Ipswich last season after working wonders at Grimsby and Shrewsbury, has overseen just a solitary league victory all season - and that was against one of only two teams below them in the table.

As the injury list clears though, their form is steadily improving, helped by former Town man Kevin van Veen. They're unbeaten in five games in all competitions and grabbed a stoppage-time draw at Plymouth Argyle last time out.

Van Veen, who was made to wait until mid-September for his first league start of the campaign, has scored four goals in six games and he'll no doubt be eager to add one or two more against his old club this weekend.

The Cobblers are not struggling to the same extent as Saturday's hosts but they are nonetheless falling short of expectations. It will be hoped that Tuesday's well-earned 1-0 victory at Cambridge United, which ended a three-game winless run, kicks sstart their season again.

Keith Curle does have plenty of options to pick from. Charlie Goode is back from illness and will captain Town on his return to Glanford Park while Alan McCormack is closing in on a start after two cameo appearances.

With Goode back, Jordan Turnbull will likely move back into midfield and Chris Lines, Nicky Adams, Joe Martin and Sam Hoskins are also all expected to return to the team.

Perhaps the most interesting conundrum for Curle comes at right-back. Michael Harriman has been steady since his arrival but faces strong competition from the fit-again Reece Hall-Johnson, who enjoyed his best game for the Cobblers in midweek.

Typically a point would be a satisfactory outcome from an away game at Scunthorpe - the Cobblers haven't won there since 1980, after all - but whilst that remains true to an extent here, it feels an opportunity for Curle and his men to atone for recent slip-ups and put their season back on track.

Prediction: Scunthorpe United 1 Northampton Town 1