Jefferson Lake’s Cobblers v Plymouth preview: Great expectations on Boothroyd’s men

RARING TO GO - Chris Hackett will return to the Cobblers starting line-up against Plymouth Argyle
RARING TO GO - Chris Hackett will return to the Cobblers starting line-up against Plymouth Argyle

Even though the Cobblers’ away form has improved in the past week, there is still an expectation on them to win all of their home games between now and the end of the season.

The past two fixtures have netted a win at Southend and a solid point in a smash-mouth encounter at the home of a Wimbledon sode who seem to have successfully summoned the spirit of the Dons of old in their bid to stave off relegation.

Four points from two consecutive away games is a return that has only been matched twice by this year’s side, and they have never bettered four from two successive away fixtures at any point.

But while the away form - if not the performances - are going in the right direction, the pressure is really on to ensure the points continue to flow on Sixfields soil.

Plymouth and Bristol Rovers are capable teams but really should be despatched.

The only stumbling block might be the Cobblers’ powers of persistence - if they are unable to break down what will be two defence-minded sides they will struggle to bank maximums from the games.

Aidy Boothroyd has given his squad the best possible chance of winning the first game, against the Pilgrims, by resting several key players for the midweek exertions at Wimbledon.

What that means, though, is that there is now an even greater weight of expectation on the team to beat Plymouth.

Luke Guttridge, Ben Harding, Chris Hackett and Clive Platt are all likely to be restored to the side and all should be fresher than if they had played the game at Kingsmeadow.

Such expectations are totally valid.

This team has not won 11 home games this season by accident, and all of the four players mentioned above can be placed in the ‘key man’ category.

Getting them back will whet the supporters’ appetites, and they must now prove they are worthy of such treatment by contributing towards a match-winning performance.

All of the Cobblers’ remaining home games are against teams from the bottom half of npower League Two and all of them should (but possibly will not) result in victories.

Sixfields isn’t being called a fortress for nothing.