England

Match Forecast: Northampton vs Rochdale

Northampton will be looking to extend their unbeaten run as they play host to an out-of-form Rochdale this Saturday. This game could see potential debuts for players on both sides after an exciting transfer window came to a close on Wednesday night.

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The Cobblers had a fantastic January both on and off the pitch. Firstly, they have welcomed nine new players to Sixfields, with nine more leaving the town in return. Players that have arrived at Northampton include exciting Portuguese winger Hildeberto Pereira (on loan from Legia Warszawa), former Manchester City defender Shay Facey and a former Championship goalkeeper, Richard O’Donnell. All three of these players have had their own impact since arriving and are all fan favourites already. The newest acquisition is Dutch striker Kevin Van Veen. The 26-year-old signed for the Cobblers from Scunthorpe United for an undisclosed fee. This signing is certainly one that shows that Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is taking his role as Northampton manager very seriously. The aim for Northampton is survival and the signings that have been made should ensure their place in League 1 next season. Meanwhile, on the pitch, Northampton have gone four games unbeaten, with three consecutive wins against Southend, Bradford and MK Dons and an impressive draw against title challengers Blackburn Rovers.

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On the other hand, you have Rochdale, who have been in meltdown as of late. Four losses in their last four league games means the Greater Manchester side are now sitting in 23rd place, 11 points from Northampton, who sit in 20th place. While Rochdale have had both the FA Cup and Checkatrade Trophy to deal with, their league form has not improved in the slightest and a win this Saturday is crucial for their survival hopes. In transfer news, Dale have brought in two players recently. Firstly, striker Stephen Humphrys on loan from Fulham, who has previously been on loan to Shrewsbury, and a returning Scott Wiseman, who has arrived on loan from Chesterfield. Both signings are exciting ones for Rochdale but may not be enough to deal with those sides around them in League 1 who have bolstered their squads in full, Northampton included. Defender Donervon Daniels has left Rochdale, as he was recalled by league leaders Wigan Athletic.

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The last meeting between the two sides saw Northampton come from 2-0 down to earn a point at the Crown Oil Arena. This game saw David Buchanan score his first goal for the Cobblers after over 100 games of asking. John-Joe O’Toole had the chance to win the game for the away side, but his penalty was saved by Josh Lillis. Last season saw Rochdale take four points from Northampton, with a 3-2 victory at Sixfields and a 1-1 draw at home in April.

The name that people will be talking about on matchday is Joe Bunney. The 24-year-old signed for Northampton last month from Rochdale for an undisclosed fee. The striker turned full-back played over 100 games for Dale before making the switch down south to Sixfields. Since arriving, Bunney has played two games, getting two assists, both of which were for John-Joe O’Toole. Bunney is expected to be fit for the match after suffering a dead leg last Saturday against Blackburn.

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In terms of team news for the home side, Kevin Van Veen is available for selection as is fellow new striker Boris Mathis. Both Aaron Pierre and Aaron Phillips remain unavailable for the Cobblers, while midfielder Shaun McWilliams will be available for selection after missing the Blackburn game through illness.

“Competition is healthy for everybody,” said the Cobblers boss.

“Injuries and fatigue happen in football and you need to be able to freshen things up.

“We can only select five of the six loans we have decisions to make.”

Featured Image Credit: Matt Churchill

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