James Heneghan's Stevenage v Northampton Town preview

Fixture: Stevenage v Northampton Town, Sky Bet League Two

Tuesday, 17th September 2019, 11:07 am
A fine finish to snatch all three points

Date/time: Tuesday, September 17, 7.45pm kick-off

Venue: Lamex Stadium

Forecast: 15C, sunny spells

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Andy Williams scored a last-minute winner at Stevenage last season.

Outs and doubts: Stevenage: Joel Byrom, Scott Cuthbert, Ben Nugent, Terence Vancooten, Emmanuel Sonupe, Dean Parrett, Tom Soares, Paul Digby. Cobblers: Alan McCormack, Steve Arnold, Reece Hall-Johnson, Ryan Watson

Betting: Stevenage 15/8, draw 23/10, Northampton 17/10

Form guide: Boro LLLDDL, Cobblers WLLWDL

Current league positions: 24th v 14th

Possible line-ups: Stevenage (4-4-2): Farman; James-Wildin, Fernandez, El-Abd, Stokes; Kennedy, Carter, Husin, List; Newton, Guthrie. Northampton (4-3-3): Cornell; Harriman, Goode, Wharton, Martin; Turnbull, Lines, McWilliams; Adams, Hoskins, Williams.

Man in the middle: Charles Breakspear

Last time out: Stevenage 2 (Guthrie 2) Carlisle 3 (McKirdy 2, Thomas); Northampton 2 (Williams, Hoskins) Newport 0

Most recent meeting: Saturday, February 23, 2019 - Stevenage 1 (Revell) Northampton Town 2 (Powell, Williams)

Record v Stevenage: P10 W7 D2 L1

James Heneghan's preview: Besieged by injury problems and without a full-time manager, Stevenage look ripe for the beating when Cobblers come to visit on Tuesday evening, but as football has taught us countless times before, it is rarely that straightforward.

Following a sluggish start, Town look to be finding their groove this season. They have won three of five and are coming off an impressive win over previously unbeaten Newport County last time out.

But consistency is the bedrock of any promotion challenge and it's something that will be put to the test over the coming days.

An optimist might look at these two fixtures - Stevenage away, Crawley at home - and see a chance to collect six points and make it three wins in a row, potentially moving Cobblers into the top seven. A pessimist who's grown accustomed to Town's inconsistency troubles may well fear an opportunity is about to be missed.

But there's no doubt Town can take great heart and encouragement from recent performances. They were impressively efficient against Newport and now require a similar showing at the Lamex.

Stevenage are still without a win of any kind in any competition this season and manager Dino Maamria paid the price for their woeful start with his job, although a change in the dugout - to former England Women's boss Mark Sampson in the short-term - didn't bring an immediate change of fortunes as Boro were beaten 3-2 by Carlisle United on Saturday.

Tonight's hosts also have a lengthy injury list which includes former Cobblers duo Joel Byrom and Emmanuel Sonupe, as well as club captain Scott Cuthbert. If the Cobblers ever wanted an opportunity to build up a head of steam, this is surely it.

Keith Curle's own injury headache has eased somewhat. Alan McCormack is edging closer to a return to the squad - he could even be on the bench at Stevenage - and Shaun McWilliams has suffered no reaction to the chest pains he experienced during the win over Newport County.

From playing a team that hadn't lost a game this season, the Cobblers now make the trip to a side who are yet to register a win. For some sides, that would be a foregone conclusion. For the Cobblers, it's anything but.

Prediction: Stevenage 1 Northampton Town 2