Jeremy Casey’s Northampton Town v Cambridge United preview

READY TO MIX THINGS UP? - Chris Wilder may make changes to the Cobblers team for Monday's clash with Cambridge (Picture: Sharon Lucey)
READY TO MIX THINGS UP? - Chris Wilder may make changes to the Cobblers team for Monday's clash with Cambridge (Picture: Sharon Lucey)

Fixture: Northampton Town v Cambridge United, Sky Bet League Two

Date/kick-off time: Monday, April 6, 3pm kick-off

Venue: Sixfields Stadium, Northampton

Weather forecast: 16C, sunny spells

Cobbblers outs and doubts: Ian Morris (knee), Kaid Mohamed (broken metatarsal), Ben Tozer (knee), Marc Richards (Achilles), Tom Newey (ankle).

Betting: Cobblers 10/11, draw 13/5, Cambridge 7/2

Form guide: Cobblers DWLLWL Cambridge LLDLDD

Possible Northampton line-up: Northampton (4-4-1-1): Duke, Moloney, Cresswell, Collins, Horwood, Holmes, Taylor, Byrom, D’Ath, Di Girolamo, Gray.

Last time out: Cobblers drew 2-2 at AFC Wimbledon (Gray 2), Cambridge lost 2-0 at home to Bury

Most recent meeting: Friday, November 14 - Cambridge 2 (Cunnington, Bird) Cobblers 1 (Toney)

Cobblers connection: There are a few notable connections between the Cobblers and Cambridge in recent times, with Tom Youngs and Luke Guttridge springing to mind, but the obvious one is Us shot-stopper Chris Dunn, who made 110 appearances for the Cobblers before leaving the club to sign for Coventry City in 2011

Jeremy Casey’s preview: Although not quite drinking in the last chance saloon, the Cobblers are certainly getting close to hearing the bell for last orders in the bar next door.

Friday’s 2-2 draw at AFC Wimbledon was a triumph of spirit and character as far as the Town players were concerned, with the team fighting back from 2-0 down to claim a point and maintain their interest in the play-off race.

But it was also an opportunity missed for Chris Wilder’s men because, as they proved when they finally got going in the final 30 minutes, they are a better side than the Dons.

It was a game that an on-song Cobblers team would have won, and it is now very close to the the stage of the season where winning is the only option.

That is definitely the case when it comes to matches at Sixfields and, if Town are serious about getting into that top seven by the end of the campaign, only a win will be good enough when struggling Cambridge United come to town on Easter Monday afternoon.

Sixfields should be close to full as the visitors have sold out their allocation for the south stand, and there will be a great atmosphere inside the ground.

The pitch will be as good as ever - surely one of the best in Sky Bet League Two - and the perfect scene will be set for the likes of Ricky Holmes, Lawson D’Ath and new terrace hero Jimmy Gray - with the man himself letting us know he’s a Jimmy, not a James - to strut their stuff.

So basically, there are no excuses. This is the time for action, the time for the Cobblers to really make their move.

A win over Cambridge and the promotion dream will go on, but a loss or even a draw would surely mean it’s all over for this season.

It looks likely that Wilder is going to tinker with his team and freshen things up.

If he is fully fit, then Evan Horwood will surely come in at left-back, as he gives the team an extra dimension in attack.

Lee Collins was good in that position on Saturday, and has been excellent for the past couple of months, but he is not as good on the ball as Horwood. Wilder would then have to decide if he moves Collins back to central defence, or sticks with Zander Diamond and Ryan Cresswell.

Elsewhere, Diego Di Girolamo is another that may come into the equation as the ‘man in the hole’, playing just off target man Gray.

John-Joe O’Toole has been given ample opportunities to make that position his own, and despite flashes of ability, he simply hasn’t impressed enough. Otherwise, it will be as you were.

One thing that will be crucial is that they make one of their trademark whirlwind Sixfields starts and really go for the Cambridge jugular from the off.

The Us, with former Cobbler Chris Dunn in goal, are in a fragile state having won just one of their past 15 league two games, and mustn’t be allowed to get a foothold in the match and grow in confidence.

With Town in good shape at home, I don’t think they will be allowed to do that. This should be a comfortable win for the Cobblers.

Case’s prediction: Cobblers 3 Cambridge 0