James Heneghan's Tranmere Rovers v Northampton Town preview

Fixture: Tranmere Rovers v Northampton Town, Sky Bet League Two

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 4:13 pm
Sam Hoskins scored twice when Northampton last visited Tranmere in February 2019.

Date/time: Saturday, October 23, 3pm kick-off

Venue: Prenton Park

Forecast: 13C, cloudy

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Outs and doubts: Tranmere: Scott Davies. Cobblers: Sid Nelson, Joseph Mills.

Betting: Tranmere 7/5, draw 11/5, Northampton 21/10

Form guide: Rovers DWWWWD, Cobblers WWLDLD

Current league positions: 5th v 6th

Possible line-ups: Tranmere (4-3-3): Doohan; Dacres-Cogley, Davies, Clarke, MacDonald; Foley, Spearing, Morris; McManaman, Hawkes, Nevitt. Northampton (4-3-3): Roberts; McGowan, Horsfall, Guthrie, Koiki; McWilliams, Sowerby, Lewis; Hoskins, Pinnock, Etete.

Man in the middle: Tom Nield

Last time out: Harrogate 2 Tranmere 2 (Spearing, Morris); Northampton 3 (Etete, Hoskins, Horsfall) Stevenage 0

Most recent meeting: Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - Tranmere 1 (Norwood) Northampton 2 (Hoskins 2)

Record v Tranmere: P42 W15 D12 L15

James Heneghan's preview: If tomorrow's game at Prenton Park stays true to form, it's unlikely we will be spoilt for goals as two resolute defences go head-to-head.

Even after conceding twice at Harrogate in midweek, Tranmere Rovers' defensive record this season is nothing short of remarkable. They have shipped just six goals in their 13 league games and only two in their six home matches.

Rovers also have more clean sheets - eight - than any of the other 71 teams in the EFL. Next on the list? Northampton, joint with Rotherham and Bournemouth.

So the chances of a goal-fest this weekend seem remote but nonetheless it should be an intriguing contest between two improving sides who both harbour promotion aspirations this season.

Tranmere's summer was just as hectic as Northampton's and among their many recruits were lifelong fan Ryan Watson and fellow ex-Cobbler Sam Foley. Many might have expected Watson to make the bigger impression given his form at Sixfields but he's struggling to even feature having not started a league game in over a month. By contrast, Foley has started the last six in a row.

Micky Mellon's side started the season with one win in five but they are currently the most-in-form side in the division having collected 14 points from the last 18 available.

Not only that, they are extremely formidable on home turf. On their last away trip, the Cobblers faced the division's best home team in Hartlepool United. Tomorrow, they go to the side with the second-best record.

But Northampton head to Merseyside in good spirits following back-to-back home wins. They continue to look well-drilled and well-organised out of possession and their attacking play is starting to click.

If he feels his players are fresh and fit enough to maintain the same intensity levels, Jon Brady will surely go with the same starting XI for the fourth game running. Wins over Mansfield and Stevenage were efficient and comfortable, but a victory at in-form, promotion-chasing Tranmere would be a statement of intent.

Prediction: Tranmere Rovers 1 Northampton Town 1