Jefferson Lake’s Cobblers v Burton preview: Town can’t afford Sixfields slip-ups

A glance out of the window is enough to suggest that the weather may be the Cobblers’ greatest opponent this weekend.

Depending on when you read this, the 10cm of snow that has been predicted to fall will either be in the clouds or on the ground.

Either way, it is heading for Sixfields, where the pitch has been covered by frost-resistant sheets for more than a week and is said to be completely playable.

The turf is taking a fork so there is no reason why it won’t take a stud.

If the game does go ahead, though, that might just be the easy part done.

Burton Albion have a pretty woeful away record and it certainly does not compare to the Cobblers’ form at home.

Only Burton themselves have a better record on their own ground than Northampton, whose away form is so bad it is the biggest threat to their chances of being involved in a promotion race this season.

Which makes home matches even more important.

The team is right to approach every game on their own ground with the kind of brash confidence that comes when you’ve won nine of your 14 games there - title-winning form, no less.

Because if standards start to slip at Sixfields then the players will be under even more pressure to pick up results on their travels, something they are finding highly difficult to do.

The weather, then, is the first hurdle.

Then comes a Burton team led by Calvin Zola, who was very nearly a Cobblers player and very rarely has a bad game against them.

As much as Northampton know they need to maintain their home form, the Brewers are desperately keen to improve what they do away from home.

They have won three of 13 away league games this season, which is either a confidence booster for Cobblers fans or the kind of record that should be treated with the type of caution developed through years of following a side who often end such sequences on behalf of other teams.

Whatever happens, it will be a difficult and maybe even pivotal game.

If it takes place, that is.

The club are confident it will, and they want to play to rid their immediate memories of the degrading loss at Chesterfield last time out.

Lots of obstacles, both on and off the field, stand in the way of such a feat.