Jefferson Lake’s Dagenham preview: Cobblers have the perfect chance of a perfect start

Having seen 2012 end with a literal damp squib, the Cobblers get a double chance to kick off 2013 with considerably more of a bang.

And how they need it - their festive inactivity has seen them slip to six points off the play-off places, with Burton Albion the main beneficiaries with back-to-back wins pushing them up to seventh.

Postponed games, especially those away from home where the true extent of the weather cannot be assessed, always raise an eyebrow and that was certainly the case when the game at Wimbledon ‘fell victim’ on Boxing Day.

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Then the match at Gillingham, who had been beaten by Barnet in their previous outing and were without a whole host of first-team players, brought out even the most optimistic supporter’s inner conspiracy theorist.

The Northampton Town squad was not in Kent when that fixture bit the dust, but manager Aidy Boothroyd received such disappointing information with a wry smile.

He received Adebayo Akinfenwa back from suspension to a squad that was in confident mood after beating Aldershot, and one that fancied their chances in both away games between Christmas and New Year.

The denial of those opportunities should increase the team’s appetite for the New Year’s Day game against Dagenham (and for the one on Saturday against Fleetwood) but there could also be a loss in momentum.

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Dagenham have conceded six goals in their past two games, the kind of statistics that place them firmly in the beatable category, but it should be noted those matches were against Port Vale and Southend United.

Regardless, the positioning of two home games at the start of the year represents an excellent opportunity for the Cobblers to get back among the play-off contenders, or at least close to them.

January is going to be a crucial month for so many reasons.

The club get a great chance to start it in style in its very first week.