Jefferson Lake’s Northampton Town v Accrington preview: Stanley must be swept aside

KEY MAN - Cobblers winger Chris Hackett
KEY MAN - Cobblers winger Chris Hackett

Football supporters of a certain age will forever associate Accrington Stanley with a particularly unamusing milk advert from the early-1990s.

To the uniniatated, the commercial featured a couple of Scouse kids who had apparently been advised by Liverpool striker Ian Rush that if they did not consume enough of the white stuff that they ‘would only be good enough to play for Accrington Stanley.’

Fans of the club have had to tolerate this pretty unfunny - and completely unprovoked - attack on their club’s integrity ever since.

These days, they are a Football League club in their own right and although they consistently struggle to get people through the gates they have a hard core of ‘ultras’ who back them excellently at home games and have established themselves in the 92.

Regularly competing against clubs with bigger budgets and on more solid financial foundations, they deserve a huge amount of respect for such an achievement.

But this weekend, the Cobblers should look to treat them with the same disdain those Liverpudlian milk-quaffers did all those years ago.

All the public platitudes will be about how there being no easy games at this time of year and how Accrington will be fired up for the latest chapter of a fight to retain their Football League status.

It would be foolhardy to say anything else, lest it be used as dressing-room wall material by the Stanley contingent and of course sporting etiquette dictates that respect must be paid to all opponents at all times.

In the behind-closed-doors environment of the training ground and the manager’s office, though, the plan must be to bury Accrington this weekend.

The defeat at Exeter City last time out was not too damaging in terms of the bigger picture but a firm response is now required.

Chris Hackett needs to come in and he needs to play as well as he can. Adebayo Akinfenwa needs to find his scoring boots and Luke Guttridge just needs to carry on from where he left off at St James’ Park.

There is little in the form book to suggest this game is anything other than a home banker and the teamsheets illustrate a quality divide between the teams that you could drive a milk float down.

So it’s time to ignore the niceties, throw off the shackles and rack up the kind of win that gets people talking about this Cobblers side as one that means serious business this season.