Plymouth Argyle boss Derek Adams is expecting an open encounter as his side take on the Cobblers at Sixfields on Saturday, with both sides desperate for victory for very different reasons.
Town need a maximum haul to keep alive their slim hopes of Sky Bet League One survival, while the Pilgrims are targeting the win that will keep them on course for a place in the end of season promotion play-offs.
Adams is anticipating that the Cobblers are going to go at his side, and he is hoping that will enable his team to ‘pick them off’.
It is all set for an exciting afternoon at Sixfields, with a 7,000-plus crowd expected, and the Scotsman believes those at the game could be in for a treat.
“I think the game will probably be open and that Northampton will come at us, and we have to then try and pick them off,” said Adams.
“They haven’t got the situation where they can sit in and go for a point. They have got to go for the win, and we are likewise.
“We would like to win the game as well, so I can see it being an open encounter.”
Promoted last season, Plymouth have enjoyed a fantastic run of form that has seen them climb from the second bottom in league one in November, to their current spot in seventh place.
The Green Army are still very much setting their sights on promotion, and their next two games see them take on teams in the bottom four, with Saturday’s Sixfields trip followed by a visit to Rochdale.
On paper, Argyle should be confident of victories, but Adams knows that his team are going to face a real challenge.
The former Ross County boss was asked if a four-point haul from the two games would be the target, and he said: “That’s something we will try and do, but we know that Northampton had a very good victory last week.
“We know they have got three games to go and they need to get victories to stay in the league. It’s the same with Rochdale.
“They are tough games at this stage in the season because they are playing to stay in league one.”
The Cobblers go into Saturday’s game sitting third bottom in league one, and that was not something that was expected following the huge investment made in players both last summer, and in the January transfer window.
Justin Edinburgh and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink have both been sacked over the course of the campaign, and although Adams admits he is surprised to see Town down where they are in the league one table, he says it is proof that putting together a good team takes more than just having a big budget.
“You only have to look at Bury,” he said. “They are one team that spent quite a bit of money and they are out of the league (relegated).
“It just shows that money isn’t everything. It’s about being able to use the budget as wisely as you can and getting in players that you feel are going to benefit your team.
“It’s not always the biggest budget that wins the league. It certainly helps but it doesn’t always guarantee that success.”
Plymouth travel to Sixfields without the services of two key players, as striker Ryan Taylor has been ruled out with an ankle injury and on-loan midfielder Moses Makasi, who is also injured.