Tom Vickers’ Stevenage v Northampton Town preview

Chris Wilder (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Chris Wilder (picture: Sharon Lucey)
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Fixture: Stevenage v Northampton Town (Sky Bet League Two)

Date/kick-off time: Saturday, April 11, 3pm

Venue: Broadhall Way

Weather forecast: 12C, sunny

Outs and doubts: Stevenage: Calvin Zola, Kevin Lisbie, Darius Charles, Adam Marriott, Harry Worley. Cobblers: Ian Morris (knee), Kaid Mohamed (broken metatarsal), Marc Richards (Achilles), Tom Newey (ankle), John-Joe O’Toole (hamstring).

Betting: Stevenage 11/8, draw 13/5, Cobblers 23/10

Form guide: Stevenage: DDLDDW, Cobblers: LWLWDL

Possible line-ups: Stevenage: (4-4-2): Day, McAllister, Dembele, Wells, Okimo, Whelpdale, Parrett, Keane, Pett, Lee, Kennedy. Northampton (4-4-1-1): Duke, Moloney, Cresswell, Collins, Horwood, Holmes, Taylor, Byrom, D’Ath, Toney, Gray.

Last time out: Stevenage won 1-0 at Cheltenham, Cobblers lost 1-0 at home to Cambridge.

Most recent meeting: Saturday, November 22: Cobblers 1 Stevenage 0 (Sky Bet League Two)

Tom’s preview: If Chris Wilder’s bullish attitude is mirrored by his players at Stevenage on Saturday, Cobblers could just be boasting a big three points come 5pm.

Because in the former Oxford United boss, Town have got a man who is desperate to look on the bright side of life.

In both his post-match interview after Easter Monday’s defeat to Cambridge United and his pre-match press conference on Thursday morning, Wilder was a man on a mission.

There were no bland platitudes, just statements of intent.

In fact, he took longer than normal to emerge after the Cambridge disappointment, clearly considering how he would address the issue.

And it is clear to see that he truly believes his players can get the job done at Broadhall Way on Saturday.

Now, every manager will express their belief in their players.

And every manager will tell you they are not giving up until the task they are trying to achieve becomes mission impossible.

But there is something about Wilder’s nature that inspires confidence.

And that can only be a good thing in a Cobblers dressing room that will need belief by the bucketload to win at Stevenage.

Whether they are good enough is another matter as, without Marc Richards, who is set to return at Oxford United on Tuesday night, they are short of nous up front.

James Gray, who has clearly been given a boost by his arrival from Accrington, Diego De Girolamo and Ivan Toney will again be tasked with solving that particular problem.

Wilder was asked whether he would change his system this weekend, to adopt a more attacking approach.

And it was an inquisition that shocked him, as he pointed out his team are among the top scorers in Sky Bet League Two.

That they are, but the manager also knows that his men must start keeping clean sheets if they are to make progress.

And what a time it would be to register a shut-out this weekend.

Stevenage are lacking attacking options with a laundry list of players sidelined, but they are a tight-knit unit, bulging with belief after suffering just one defeat in their past 12 games.

They have been hard to beat on their own turf this season, with their home record providing the foundation for a current top-six standing.

And they know that if they can beat Cobblers this weekend, it will be a knock-out blow for the away side’s hopes of reaching the play-offs.

But you can rest assured that Cobblers and their manager certainly won’t be going down without a fight.

Tom’s prediction: Stevenage 0 Cobblers 1