Bristol Rovers boss John Ward is aiming to get one over on his old pal and boss Aidy Boothroyd when the Cobblers turn up at the Memorial Stadium tomorrow (ko 3pm).
Ward was assistant to Boothroyd at Colchester United, the pair having struck up a friendship after being sacked from their previous jobs on the same day.
It was November 3, 2008, Boothroyd was jettisoned by Watford and Ward by Carlisle United, and Ward told the Bristol Post: “I got sacked first
“I went at nine o’clock and Aidy went at 10, which meant I had an hour as the headline story and then he took over.
“Not long afterwards Aidy phoned me and we started watching some games together.
“He was having some job interviews at the time and asked if I would go with him to his next club.
“As it turned out, I went to Stockport County as a coach, but when Aidy went to Colchester United as manager he stuck to his word and asked me to go there as his assistant.
“I really enjoyed working with him and found him a really interesting character.
“Our chief scout at the time, Andy King, is now working with him at Northampton, so we will have a get-together after the game.
“Knowing Aidy, I’m sure it will be very competitive between 3pm and 5pm because he is always very positive and knows how to coach his teams to attack effectively.”
Ward took over as manager of Colchester following Boothroyd’s departure from the club to take over at Coventry City, but the pair stayed in touch.
And Ward is quick to defend Boothroyd over the oft-used criticism that he is a long-ball manager.
Ward accepts that Boothroyd does set up his teams to get from back to front quickly, but refuses to tag it as ‘long ball’.
“It has been said that he (Boothroyd) plays a direct style, but I would describe it as positive,” said Ward.
“I lived in the same house as him for a while, so we talked a lot and Aidy knows how to play forward football.
“We will have to be prepared for that.”
Ward, who saw his side beat York City 3-2 last weekend to claim their first win of the season, has been boosted by the news that striker Matt Harrold is fit for the clash against the Cobblers, although he is likely to start on the bench.