After last Saturday’s horrendous showing, Northampton will be looking to bounce back as Neal Ardley and his struggling AFC Wimbledon side visit Sixfields.
The Cobblers suffered a 6-0 loss at the hands of Bristol Rovers in their last match, leaving Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s side in 22nd place. It has been an up and down start to the former Chelsea striker’s reign as manager, with Northampton picking up eight points in as many matches. Last Saturday saw the league debut of Sam Foley, after the Irish midfielder suffered an ankle injury during pre-season.
This game also marked a return to the matchday squad for Shaun McWilliams, who went off injured in the 3-1 victory over Portsmouth in September. Alex Revell got sent off during the thrashing, meaning he will miss this Saturday’s encounter, along with Northampton’s meetings with Rochdale and Gillingham. This may mean a rare start for Billy Waters or a change in formation with the wings being used to more effect.
Some good news coming out of Sixfields this week was the fact that fan favourite John-Joe O’Toole may be ready to play in this weekend’s match but this has not been confirmed fully just yet. Brendan Moloney was take off in the first half last Saturday after suffering a slight hamstring injury. Chris Long will also be hoping to return to the squad, with the Burnley loanee struggling with a hamstring problem throughout the season so far.
As for AFC Wimbledon, they will be looking to pick up a result that would turn their season around. The Dons sit in 21st place, only one point ahead of the Cobblers and fans have started to get on the back of manager Neal Ardley. Ardley took over AFC Wimbledon in October 2012 and guided them to a Play-Off Final victory in 2016 against Plymouth Argyle. Wimbledon finished in 15th place last season, with Northampton placing just below them in 16th but four points behind. Last Saturday saw Ardley’s men lose 3-0 to Oxford United.
The assistant manager told the club: “I am expecting a tight game on Saturday. They’ve had a disappointing result at home, but Jimmy (Hasselbaink) had done a good job for the first two or three games. It is going to be difficult. They are going to be well organised and they will probably get behind the ball. We are going to go there in a positive frame of mind and try to win the game. It’s about what we do and about us playing well. Apart from the Oxford game, we’ve played really well and created chances, but we’ve not taken them.”
The Northampton line-up I would select for Saturday:
Goalkeeper: Matt Ingram
Defenders: Brendan Moloney (if fit), Ash Taylor, Aaron Pierre, David Buchanan.
Midfielders: Matt Grimes, Regan Poole, Lewis McGugan.
Attackers: Sam Hoskins, Billy Waters, George Smith