Steve Riches: Tensions at a high for family

Losing 1-0 at Bristol Rovers on Friday would not normally have been a disaster but it hammered another nail in our coffin, and the 3-2 defeat at home by Southend leaves Northampton Town Football Club close to being sealed into it.

That coffin lid must be prised open at Leyton Orient this Saturday. Tensions in one Northampton family are running high ahead of this vital fixture. The Chapman family consists of dad Neil, mum Edel, and sons Nathan and Liam.

Edel and her family are from Leyton and Saturday's game has added poignancy because her dad, Bill Ross, passed away last December.

He was a lifelong Os supporter from the 1950s and he used to take Edel, her sister and two brothers to Brisbane Road.

His top all-time player was Tommy Johnstone. When Neil and Edel married in 1996, Bill enjoyed pointing out in his speech (much to the amusement of the East End crowd present) that the Orient had done the double over the Cobblers that season.

On Saturday, Liam will be the Orient mascot (he will be nine on April 22), while Nathan, whose 12th birthday is on April 28, will be mascot for the Cobblers.

The boys have already gone down to London so they won't see the Chron until Saturday morning when Neil will open it up to give them the well-kept secret news that they are to be mascots at the game.

I had to pretend to be a photographer booked for a family portrait! Neil tells me that although the Orient side of the family want to win, they also want the two sides to meet again next season in the league, and with Orient more or less safe, this points to unusual hopes for a Cobblers victory.

I asked Neil what he thought of Monday's 3-2 defeat. He said we were abysmal in the first half, but nearly turned it round in a second half that we ruined by silly errors.

He picked out Danny Jackman, Jason Crowe and Mark Hughes as players with the right attitude, but wanted to get onto the pitch to give some of the others "a good shake".

Neil, whose all-time favourite Cobblers player is Tony Adcock, has been a supporter for over 30 years after his dad took him to the County Ground.

He, Nathan and Liam are all season ticket holders at Sixfields. Nathan's favourite players are Andy Holt and Danny Jackman, Liam's favourite Orient players are Jason Demetriou and Scott McGleish.

If you're a believer in Sod's Law then Scott McGleish is going to stick the ball into our net, perhaps he could just put his back out for a few days by moving a piano or something?

On our injury front, at time of writing there are doubts over Liam Davis with his foot injury picked up on Monday, Luke Guttridge is an uncertainty, but Ryan Gilligan should be okay. If you forget our rotten run of form and just study the league table, it is still all there to play for.

Gareth Willsher at the club told me that 15 of our 19 defeats have been by just one goal. We're shading the wrong side of the line. All you can do if you're a fan reading this is to get to Saturday's game, and then Tuesday's against Scunthorpe at Sixfields, and give the team your maximum support. There's no other course of action left.