Jefferson Lake’s Bradford City v Northampton Town preview: Away form will decide fate

BAD LUCK - Alex Nicholls was on eight goals before breaking his leg and could easily have reached 20
BAD LUCK - Alex Nicholls was on eight goals before breaking his leg and could easily have reached 20

If the Cobblers are to avoid this season being one where everyone wonders what might have been they have got to win at Bradford City on Saturday.

What might have been if Alex Nicholls had not had his season so cruelly cut short; the striker was on eight goals at the time and could easily have reached 20. What a difference his presence in the side might have made.

What might have been if Adebayo Akinfenwa had not been so publicly courted by Gillingham during the transfer window. How different his post-January form might have been without such a distraction.

And what might have been if the Cobblers had been able to make even just a slight improvement in the way they played and the results they have picked up away from Sixfields.

Only one league two team has won fewer games than Northampton Town’s haul of four away from home; Torquay - with three.

And the two sides currently in the npower League Two relegation zone, York City and Aldershot, have banked more points on their travels than the Cobblers’ measly 18.

There have been times were the team has been routed away from home, comfortably beaten and deserving of precisely nothing.

The fixtures at Chesterfield, Rotherham and - especially - at Barnet are enough to send a shudder down the spines of the fans who travelled to such theatres of screams to back the side.

But there have been close calls too. The team was unfortunate not to take at least a point at Oxford and it was the same story at Fleetwood.

Draws in those matches alone would be enough to put the Cobblers in a decidedly more comfortable position and just a point behind Port Vale. A win here or there and they’d be above them.

It is the away form that will make or break Northampton Town this season and it is the away form that has been a problem throughout the campaign.

The team will almost certainly win their final two home games, against York City and Barnet in what has become an impregnable Sixfields fortress.

Whether they finish in the top three or the play-offs, though, will depend on what happens at Valley Parade, Adams Park and Vale Park.