On Saturday we kick-off the Sky Bet season against Northampton To
As is usually the case at the start of the season, I am writing to you from a campsite, this time in Delft. I shall miss the first game of the season but I don't need to see it to preview it so here goes for the first one of the 2017/8 season!
We face Northampton Town, who like us have signed a few players over the summer but I'll go into more detail later.
Last season The Cobblers finished with a couple of points more than us which made them finish the season a couple of places ahead of us. The start of last season saw them draw their first five games and they had a couple of poor patches but over all had more than enough to stay in League One last season, they may have finished much higher were it not for a sticky patch toward the end of the season.
The Manager-Justin Edinburgh
Probably better known by many for the near 200 game spell he spent with Tottenham Hotspur between 1990 and 2000. The ex-left back started his career with nearly forty appearances for Southend United and also had a 35 game spell with Portsmouth at the end of career. As a manager I first heard of him when he was in charge at Newport County but he's been with four other non-league teams before that, Billericay, Fisher Athletic, Greys Athletic and Rushden. But it was with Newport that he had his first real managerial success when he took them from the conference to League Two via the Conference play-off final in 2013. He kept them up the following season. Newport was going quite well in League Two when Edinburgh left for Gillingham. He kept the Gills in League One that season, finished ninth the following season but was sacked the following season (2016/7). January 2017, Edinburgh was appointed manager of League One club Northampton Town on a two-and-a-half-year contract and guided them to a mid-table finish.
Sebastian Stockbridge from Tyne and Wear. Games last season: 41. Yellow Cards: 161. Red Cards 9!
Gareth Mellor and Craig Taylor
Fourth Official: Oliver Bickle
Town-Joe Riley will sit this one out but everyone else is available.
Cobblers-Northampton manager Justin Edinburgh has a few players unavailable. Midfielder Sam Foley and forward Sam Hoskins are still suffering from lengthy knee injuries. Fellow midfielders, John-Joe O'Toole (groin) and Shaun McWilliams (ankle). Defender Brendan Moloney (hamstring) is also out.
Last seasons top goalscorers Marc Richards and Jon-Joe O'Toole are still with the club with 35 year-old Richards signing a one-year deal after being described by his manager as “a captain and a leader”. O’Toole is a goal scoring midfielder who has become a Cobblers favourite, with fans going as far as wearing wigs and hairbands to emulate their hero.
This closed season Northampton have bolstered their attacking options to help the previously mentioned Richards and O'Toole, with the likes of Billy Waters, Dean Bowditch, Chris Long, Leon Lobjoit and Daniel Powell. They all have attack in mind, which may give us a clue to how Northampton may try to play although I doubt they'll play all of them at the same time!
I spent the whole of pre-season predicting draws against EFL opposition and we won them all so I think I may try the same approach, just in case it has somehow brought us some luck. “There is no such thing as an easy game” is the well-worn platitude I have decided to employ this weekend, mainly as it's true and also because I have no form to talk about for a few weeks! I really have a good feeling about some of the players Paul Hurst has brought in, they seem to be instilled with the right attitude and hopefully that will give us a season we can be proud of.
Shrewsbury Town 2-2 Northampton Town