Jeremy Casey’s AFC Wimbledon v Northampton Town preview

The Cobblers were 2-0 winners against AFC Wimbledon in November
The Cobblers were 2-0 winners against AFC Wimbledon in November
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Fixture: AFC Wimbledon v Northampton Town

Date/kick-off time: Friday, April 3, 3pm kick-off

Venue: Cherry Red Records Stadium, Kingston Upon Thames, London

Weather forecast: Rain showers, 13C

Outs and doubts: Cobblers: Ian Morris (knee), Kaid Mohamed (broken metatarsal), Ben Tozer (knee), Marc Richards (Achilles), Tom Newey (ankle). AFC Wimbledon: Callum Kennedy (thigh), Will Nightingale (knee), James Shea (ankle)

Betting: Wimbledon 19/10, draw 5/2, Cobblers 13/8

Chris Wilder believes it is a pressure that the players should relish and enjoy, as compared to the pressure of last season, which definitely had more than a whiff of fear and trepidation about it

Jeremy Casey

Form guide: AFC Wimbledon DWLLWD, Cobblers WLLWLW

Possible line-ups: Northampton (4-4-1-1): Duke, Moloney, Cresswell, Collins, Horwood, Holmes, Taylor, Byrom, D’Ath, O’Toole, Gray. AFC Wimbledon: Worner, Fuller, Goodman, Oshilaja, Smith, Potter, Bulman, Moore, Rigg, Tanner, Akinfenwa

Last time out: Cobblers beat Luton Town 2-1 (Holmes, Gray), Wimbledon drew 1-1 at Tranmere (Akinfenwa)

Most recent meeting: Saturday, November 1 - Cobblers 2 (Mohamed, Nicholls) AFC Wimbledon 0

Cobblers connection: The standout connection between these clubs is, of course, one Adebayo Akinfenwa. A Cobblers legend, the big man seems to have found a home that suits him again with AFC Wimbledon. Assured of a warm reception from the travelling Cobblers fans at Kingsmeadow tomorrow - although those supporters won’t be wanting him to add to his 15 goals this season.

Jeremy Casey’s preview: Rewind almost a year and the Cobblers were heading into an Easter weekend that many thought would make or break their season.

A Good Friday trip to relegation rivals Wycombe Wanderers, followed by a big home date on Easter Monday against Portsmouth.

They were high pressure games, with a lot riding on them - namely the Football League survival of Northampton Town FC.

As it turned out, those two fixtures weren’t to determine the future of the Cobblers as five out of six points were dropped, although the one gleaned from the 1-1 draw at Adams Park would be important.

No, later wins and performances would ensure the Cobblers’ survival on the final day of the campaign, but this coming weekend highlights the progress that has been made by Chris Wilder and his players in the past 12 months.

In 2015, the Easter weekend is still going to be a big one for the Cobblers, but for a very different reason.

This time the pressure is on the players in a positive environment, as they try to capture a place in the promotion play-offs.

A win at Wimbledon on Good Friday is still the target.

A win over Cambridge United is still desirable.

But the consequences of failure to claim those wins in 2015 are markedly different to 2014.

This time around, the league future of the club is not at stake, a chance at promotion is - and it is an altogether more enjoyable, less stressful experience.

Speaking to the press this week, a very relaxed Wilder spoke of the team still being under pressure, but it’s a pressure that they are putting on themselves.

The Town boss believes it is a pressure that the players should relish and enjoy, as compared to the pressure of last season, which definitely had more than a whiff of fear and trepidation about it.

The Cobblers travel to London in good spirits following last weekend’s win over Luton Town.

You can’t exactly say they are in top form as they have lost two of their past three matches, but a look at the bigger picture shows 10 wins from their past 15, and the team, which is playing an attractive brand of attacking, passing football, definitely still has forward momentum.

In Ricky Holmes Town have a player at the top of his game and in the sort of form that means he will feel he can win any match on his own.

There are others, such as Brendan Moloney, Lee Collins, Ryan Cresswell, Joel Byrom and Jason Taylor, who are consistently playing to a very high level, and there is a positive vibe around the squad.

Wimbledon are a tough proposition, no doubt about that, especially at Kingsmeadow where they haven’t lost since January 17 - and In Adebayo Akinfenwa they have an attacking threat that everybody knows all about.

But this is a Cobblers squad that firmly believes they are good enough to get into the play-offs.

The team will be backed by a big following at Wimbledon, and Wilder is confident his players will be inspired to keep their promotion hopes alive going into the final six games of the season.

I think they will do just that, but if they don’t, it’s safe to say that, whatever happens, the future is looking a lot brighter in April 2015 than it was just 12 months earlier.

Prediction: AFC Wimbledon 1 Northampton 2