Who’d have thunk it? Cobblers going from fourth bottom under the luckless Dean Austin to playoff potential under Keith Curle in the space of a few weeks, writes Tom Reed.
Actually, it’s par for the course for Northampton Town who have a permanent hotline to Alton Towers such is the rollercoaster nature of their existence.
Austin, now job-hunting, had a decent squad to work with but just couldn’t get a tune out the Northampton players. Keith Curle, conversely, has gone about his role with quiet efficiency and shored up the team with a 3-5-2 formation that Peter Andre even croons about.
League 2 is a poor division this season make no bones about it with the gap between the Premier League haves and lower level have nots increasing by the minute. Therefore. It’s a case of going through the league and simply working out who the Cobblers are better than to work out where we’ll finish. Town are currently just 9 points off the playoff pack.
Lincoln look firm favourites for the title with their exceptional manager Danny Cowley and boosted by funds from last year’s EFL Trophy win so they won’t be caught. MK Dons showed what a solid counter-attacking force they are against Town and are managed by the competent Paul Tisdale so they are probably untouchable in the top 3. Meanwhile, fan-owned Exeter have proved a model club with progress both on and off the pitch and it looks like their year to go up automatically.
Every team from Crewe (Saturday’s opponents) in 17th place to Bury in 10th are hit and miss and therefore vulnerable. That leaves the playoff positions from 4th to 8th place to target. Get themselves in place at the end of the season and Town could beat any of Newport, Col U, Tranmere and Forest Green.
The January transfer window will be key though and much is dependent on Town keeping hold of star players such as Matt Crooks and Kevin Van Veen. Over to you Mr Chairman.
Breakspear, the Bard of cards brings boos at Sixfields
A contentious sending off for elegant midfielder Sam Foley at Sixfields last Saturday but some Town fans weren’t surprised given the card-happy nature of the Surrey official. On a slick pitch, Foley could have been given a talking to for his somewhat over the top challenge instead of the straight red he received. Meanwhile, Breakspear’s card tally is up to 55 yellows and 9 reds before November.
Town Under 18s a Sixfields draw
There was over 500 in at Sixfields for Town’s FA Youth Cup Round 1 tie V Kings Lynn on Tuesday night. Cobblers saw off the junior Linnets 4-0 via a Jack Daldy brace and singles for Morgan Roberts and Scott Pollock. A fair few of the NTFC Under 18’s are showing real promise with Pollock a regular goalscorer who is full of technique. Striker Jack Daldy looks a powerful presence while Kings Heath native and McWilliams brother Camron looks a chip off Shaun’s block. Jay Williams has got minutes for the senior eleven and is showing all the signs of developing into a classy centre-back.
The shoe army will come out in force to see our top local youth prospects. It’s just a shame Premier League B teams have ruined the EFL Trophy as our youth would be packing that competition out.
Credit again to manager Jon Brady who could prove himself a first-team boss in waiting.
We await the 2nd round draw but hopefully it will be at Sixfields with Town’s young guns going for it.