James Heneghan's Yeovil Town v Northampton Town preview
Fixture: Yeovil Town v Northampton Town, Sky Bet League Two
Date/time: Saturday, April 23, 3pm kick-off
Venue: Huish Park
Forecast: 10C, cloudy
Outs and doubts: Yeovil: Jakub Sokolik (wrist), Darren Ward (knee), Wes Fogden (knee), Jordan Gibbons (hip), Omar Sowunmi (ankle). Cobblers: Marc Richards (Achilles), Brendan Moloney (knee), Paul Corry (knee)
Betting: Yeovil 23/10, draw 23/10, Northampton 6/5
Form guide: Glovers DLLDWD, Cobblers WDDDDW
Avg. goals scored/conceded per game: Yeovil 0.9/1.3; Northampton 1.8/1.0
Likely line-ups: Yeovil (4-3-3): Krysiak, Roberts, Lacey, Smith, Dickson; Tozer, Dolan, Walsh; Jeffers, Zoko, Campbell. Northampton (4-2-3-1): Smith; Lelan, Diamond, McDonald, Buchanan; O’Toole, Rose; Holmes, Hoskins, Adams; Marquis.
Man in the middle: With 134 yellow cards on top of four reds, Charles Breakspear has handed out more bookings than all but four of the 59 refs to have taken charge of a League Two game this season. His last Northampton encounter saw a rare defeat for the Cobblers when they lost 2-1 at home to Dagenham.
Last time out: Wycombe 0 Yeovil 0; Northampton 2 (Holmes, O’Toole) Crawley 1 (Edwards)
Most recent meeting: Saturday, November 28, 2015 – Northampton Town 2 (D’Ath, Richards) Yeovil Town 0
Record v Yeovil: P12 W4 D4 L4
Opposition view: Glovers boss Darren Way: “It’ll be a good test and a good challenge for us but also sets a marker as to where we are. What Chris Wilder has done there is an amazing achievement and we know it’s going to be a difficult task but I want the players to relish that challenge and we’ll be looking to break their unbeaten record.”
Cobblers connection: Sam Hoskins played more games for Yeovil than he managed for any of his other six clubs before joining Northampton. The lively forward has yet to find a settled home in his short career, scoring just once for the Glovers in 35 appearances, but he’s more than played his part in Cobblers’ title-winning campaign, netting eight times this season despite most of his appearances coming from the bench.
James Heneghan’s preview: A week after their title-clinching heroics at Exeter, the Cobblers head back to the west country this weekend for the second leg of their League Two farewell tour with Yeovil Town standing in their way of yet more history.
Having already set new club records for consecutive wins (10), consecutive away games without defeat (14), consecutive away wins (8), successive games scored in (28) and most away wins in a season (13), Northampton can make it 22 games unbeaten if they avoid defeat at Yeovil on Saturday – and that would break the club record set by the last Northampton team to win a league title in 1986/87.
You wouldn’t bet against them achieving that too, despite having already wrapped up the title, with Chris Wilder and his players still seemingly intent on maintaining their high stands.
It’s important they don’t let this season fizzle out and keep the momentum going through to the very end and into next year when life in League One begins.
If they need any inspiration, look no further than last season’s champions Burton Albion who finished their campaign with a 12-game unbeaten run, including nine wins, and then maintained that momentum into the current season, winning seven of their first 10 to kick-start another promotion challenge.
For the Cobblers, it’s a case of seeing how many points they can rack up and how emphatic a margin they can win the division by, with the lead over second place currently at 14 points.
Next up is a trip to struggling Yeovil Town.
With just 38 goals from 43 games, Yeovil are the lowest scorers in the entire division, and following a revival in form at the start of march, which effectively secured their Football League status, the Glovers have stuttered again in recent games, losing two of their last three.
The previous fixture between these came two days after Kelvin Thomas’ takeover and goals from Lawson D’Ath and March Richards ensured Northampton celebrated the occasion with victory, their fifth in a row.
Aside from any possible knocks or fatigue issues, there’s little reason for Chris Wilder to make drastic changes from the team which so easily overwhelmed Crawley Town in midweek.
Brendan Moloney could return after a minor knee problem while Alfie Potter looked sharp in his 25-minute cameo off the bench so Wilder might be tempted to give him more game-time on Saturday.
Tuesday’s performance against Crawley gave the impression of a team who, despite having little to play for, are still determined to finish the season with a flourish, not a whimper.
Yeovil are also only left playing for pride having secured their Football League survival but with 100 points and a new club record in their sights, Northampton start as strong favourites once more.
Prediction: Yeovil Town 0 Northampton Town 2