James Heneghan's Wycombe Wanderers v Northampton Town preview
Fixture: Wycombe Wanderers v Northampton Town, Carabao Cup first round
Date/time: Tuesday, August 14, 7.45pm kick-off
Venue: Adams Park
Forecast: 21C, sunny spells
Outs and doubts: Wycombe: Scott Kashket, Nathan Tyson, Darius Charles. Cobblers: Shaun McWilliams
Betting: Wycombe 11/10, draw 12/5, Northampton 12/5
Possible line-ups: Wycombe (4-4-2): Allsopp; Jombati, Stewart, El-Abd, Jacobson; Sanders, Bean, Bloomfield, Freeman; Akinfenwa, Mackail-Smith. Northampton (4-4-2): Ward; Facey, Barnett, Taylor, Turnbull; Bowditch, Foley, Crooks, Bridge; Morias, Waters
Man in the middle: Stephen Martin
Last time out: Doncaster Rovers 3 Wycombe Wanderers 0; Carlisle United 2 Northampton Town 2 (van Veen, Crooks)
Most recent meeting: Tuesday, August 20, 2016 – Northampton 0 Wycombe 3 (Rowe, Hayes, Thompson), Football League Trophy
Record v Wycombe: P30 W9 D14 L7
Opposition view: “As a player, I know that all you want to do is get on the pitch again and put things right,” Gareth Ainsworth told the Bucks Free Press following Saturday’s heavy loss at Doncaster Rovers. “There will be a lot of them who will play against Northampton and some fresh faces making an appearance too.”
Cobblers connection: As the 10th leading scorer in the club’s history, Adebayor Akinfenwa needs no introduction to Cobblers fans. Still loved and adored, the beast will come up against his former club for the sixth time this evening when his Wycombe Wanderers side host Town in the League Cup. With 74 goals in 153 games across two different spells at the Cobblers, the 36-year-old is sure to be at the centre of the away end’s songbook during tonight’s tie.
James Heneghan’s preview: There are two main objectives for the Cobblers to complete on their foray into Buckinghamshire this evening: one is to win, the other is to find out which fringe players are capable of forcing their way into Dean Austin’s long-term thinking.
Winning is, of course, always the primary objective but it is lessened somewhat by the fact this is a League Cup tie and therefore does not rank highly among Town’s list of priorities this season, though it should not be underestimated how important any victory is, let alone one to a team who’ve experienced so few in recent times.
In fact, Town have registered just two in their past 16 games across the end of last season and the start of this, so a chance of adding to that tally at Adams Park - and against a team from the division above no less - would most certainly be welcomed.
But perhaps the biggest benefit for Austin tonight is that this game offers him a chance to shuffle his pack and take a look at the players who’ve had limited game-time so far, such as Billy Waters, Sam Foley, Jack Bridge and Dean Bowditch.
Leon Barnett and Jordan Turnbill too will be chomping at the bit to get their first minutes of the season while Lewis Ward might belatedly have his first opportunity to put pressure on Town’s current number one David Cornell.
There’s also Junior Morias and Shay Facey, both of whom have been hampered by injury in pre-season but are back fit and ready to show what they can do.
Wycombe have endured a sticky start to life in League One following promotion last season, backing up their goalless opening-day draw at home to Blackpool with a heavy 3-0 defeat to Doncaster Rovers at the weekend.
So while the EFL Cup might not be the most welcome of distractions, these two teams will both be hungry to notch their first victory of the campaign.
Prediction: Wycombe Wanderers 1 Northampton Town 2