Fixture: Morecambe v Northampton Town
Competition: Sky Bet League Two
Date/time: Saturday, September 19, 3pm kick-off
Venue: The Globe Arena, Morecambe
Forecast: 16C, sunny
Outs and doubts: Cobblers: Zander Diamond (leg), Ricky Holmes (back strain), Brendan Moloney (knee), Evan Horwood (groin), Jason Taylor (suspended - 1 of 4) Morecambe: Peter Murphy (knee), Laurence Wilson (calf), Shaun Beeley (hamstring)
Betting: Cobblers 8/5, draw 12/5, Morecambe 19/10
Form guide: Cobblers WLWDLL, Morecambe WWWWDL
Likely line-ups: Northampton (4-2-3-1): Smith; Furlong, Cresswell, Brisley, Buchanan; Watson, Byrom; Adams, Hoskins, D’Ath; Richards. Morecambe (3-5-2): Roche; Dugdale, Edwards, Molyneux; A McGowan, Ellison, Wildig, Fleming, Goodall; Barkhuizen, Miller
Man in the middle: Eddie Ilderton will be taking charge of the Cobblers for the third time, with the most recent being the 3-1 League Cup defeat at Ipswich Town in 2010. He is no stranger to the Globe Arena, having refereed there six times, the most recent being the Shrimpers’ 1-1 draw with Accrington in April, a game in which he sent off Accrington’s Terry Gornell. Ilderton has yet to referee a league two game this season, and has yet to dish out a red card
Last time out: Northampton 1 (Hoskins) Oxford United 0; Newport County 1 Morecambe 2 (Goodall, Mullin)
Most recent meeting: February 7, 2015: Northampton 2 (Byrom, Richards) Morecambe 1 (Devitt)
Opposition view: Morecambe boss Jim Bentley: “Northampton is a big club at this level. They have a manager and an assistant manager who know the level inside out. I have a lot of time for both of them, and I respect them both, and I know it will be a tough game.
“They have just brought in two good loanees in in Darnell Furlong and Shaun Brisley, and they have arguably the best centre forward in the division in Marc Richards.
“So it is going to be a hard game for us, but we know that on our day we are capable of beating anybody. We are at home, we are in decent form, so we are going to try and win the game.”
Cobblers connection: Central defender Chris McCready made 18 appearances for the Cobblers in 2009, but never really cemented his place before going to Tranmere Rovers on loan. He was released from Sixfields after one season, and signed for Morecambe where he became something of a Shrimpers’ mainstay, making 155 appearances before his retirement last summer.
Preview: Saturday’s trip to Morecambe is a real test for a Cobblers team buoyed by their crucial victory over Oxford United at Sixfields, but history is on Northampton’s side.
Morecambe go into the game on a four-match winning run, and will be full of confidence. They were 2-1 winners at bottom-of-the-table Newport County last weekend, thanks to a late penalty, and will fancy their chances of claiming another three points against a Northampton side striving for any sort of consistency.
But the Shrimpers’ record against the Cobblers is poor, especially on home soil. The two teams have met 12 times in the Football League, and Morecambe have won only once, at Sixfields in August 2011. The Cobblers have never lost at Morecambe, and have won on four of their six visits there, including last season where Ivan Toney netted the only goal of the game at the Globe Arena.
Jim Bentley’s side have found their form after a mixed start to the season, and their top scorer is wing-back Alan Goodall, who has netted three goals, while the veteran Kevin Ellison will, as always, be a thorn in the Cobblers’ side.
Northampton were in desperate need of last weekend’s win, their first in Sky Bet League Two since August 15, and the challenge for Chris Wilder and his team is to now follow the victory over Oxford with another positive performance.
At least one change will have to be made to the starting line-up due to Jason Taylor’s suspension for his dismissal last weekend, and it is likely Ryan Watson will be handed a start alongside Joel Byrom in the centre of midfield, but Wilder may turn to the slightly more experienced Paul Corry.
Loanees Shaun Brisley and Darnell Furlong will be hoping to build on their encouraging debut performances, they certainly added some more solidity to the Cobblers’ defence, while Sam Hoskins will surely keep his place after scoring the only goal and impressing against Oxford.
The Cobblers will of course be trying to win this game, but they will set their stall out to be solid and hard to beat, and I don’t imagine they will be too unhappy if they are travelling home on Saturday evening with a point in the bag.
Prediction: Morecambe 1 Northampton 1