Can Aidy Boothroyd's side go one step further in 2013/14?
The Cobblers were one game away from League 1 in 2012/13 and Aidy Boothroyd will hope to make this coming season a memorable one for the club. To find out when we'll be facing Northampton in 2013/14, check the official site on June 19th.
Since moving into Sixfields in 1994, Northampton have been relatively successful. Ian Atkins leading the club to the Division 3 play off Final in 1996/97 where they defeated Swansea City. They reached the Division 2 play-off Final a year later, although this time, they lost 1-0 to Grimsby Town. The following two seasons saw the club relegated and promoted again as they tried to become a regular outfit in Division 2. The Cobblers clinched promotion to League 1 in 2005/06 under the stewardship of Colin Calderwood. The club were relegated to League 2 in 2009 and have been in this division ever since. Northampton surprised everybody in 2010/11 when they beat Liverpool on penalties, at Anfield, in the League Cup.
It was only seven years ago that Aidy Boothroyd led Watford to the Premier League. Since then, having spells with Colchester United and Coventry City, he’s boss of Northampton Town. He’s been with the Cobblers since 2011, taking over from Gary Johnson. During his playing days, Boothroyd represented Huddersfield Town, Bristol Rovers, Mansfield Town, Peterborough United and Scottish side, Hearts. At the end of 2012/13, Boothroyd completed a managerial first by managing at all 92 grounds in the Football League.
Having only one goalkeeper in 18-year-old Dean Snedker on the Northampton Town books, Boothroyd has already indicated he’d like to bring in an experienced number one with the Cobblers linked to their former ‘keeper Chris Dunn, who now plays for Coventry City. In the back four, long throw specialist Ben Tozer should take his place, alongside the likes of Lee Collins and former West Ham player Joe Widdowson. Kelvin Langmead should be a regular, but Clarke Carlisle has retired from football and will not be a part of Northampton’s 2013/14 campaign. Midfield will see ex-Aldershot Town man Luke Guttridge take his place in midfield, with Chris Hackett, a former Millwall teammate of Blues’ striker Neil Harris, on the right hand side. 29-year-old Ben Harding will play in central midfield, whilst winger, Ismel Demontagnac, will play on the left. Up front, the experienced Clive Platt will want to improve on the seven goals he scored for the Cobblers in 2013/14.
Much travelled Ulsterman, Roy O’Donovan, was a big hit at Sixfields last season, after joining in January. O’Donovan scored six goals in 19 games for the Cobblers, including one against Blues at Roots Hall. The 27-year-old has previously spent time on loan at Hibernian, Hartlepool, Blackpool and also spent a temporary spell here at Southend in 2009, scoring once in four appearances. Began his career in Ireland with Cork City before moving to Sunderland.
2012/13 was a very good one for Northampton Town. The club embarked on a season that would eventually take them to Wembley Stadium. After a shaky start, the Cobblers improved and finished in the play-offs. They faced a double header against Cheltenham Town, firstly at Sixfields, winning 1-0 thanks to a solitary Roy O’Donovan goal, and then winning at Whaddon Road by the same scoreline, Luke Guttridge netting a spectacular volley. This meant a trip to the national stadium to face Bradford City. The Bantams, of course, had been to Wembley earlier in the season to take on Swansea in the Capital One Cup Final. A disastrous first half saw Northampton go 3-0 down inside the opening 28 minutes. Goals from James Hanson, Rory McArdle and Nakhi Wells gave the Cobblers a mountain to climb before the half time whistle was blown. It was to prove too difficult for Aidy Boothroyd’s side as his hometown team ran out comfortable winners by a three-goal margin, whilst Northampton had to contend with another season in League 2.
Northampton will have to contend with the retirement of centre back Clarke Carlisle. The big defender, who was a key player in the Cobbler’s 2012/13 campaign after joining from York City, has hung up his boots at the age of 33. Forward, Jake Robinson and top scorer Adebayo Akinfenwa, have also left Sixfields after their contracts with the club came to an end. The club are yet to bring in any new signings as of yet but have been strongly linked to former loanee Nathan Cameron.
BLUES vs. NORTHAMPTON TOWN
Home: Blues 1-2 Northampton
Blues lost by the odd goal when Northampton came to Roots Hall in February. Roy O’Donovan gave Aidy Boothroyd’s side an 11th minute lead before Matt Lund equalised with a header in the 65th minute. With the game looking to end with a point for each side, Kelvin Langmead grabbed the winner, scoring a close range header in the final minute. Blues also had Bilel Mohsni sent off midway through the first half.
Blues: Smith Clohessy, Straker, Spillane (Harris, 90), Prosser, Mohsni, Mayor (Eastwood, 33), Lund, Hurst, Corr, Assombalonga (Reeves, 90)
Unused: Bentley, Coughlan, Leonard, Woodyard
Away: Northampton 3-3 Blues
Four goals in the final 12 minutes saw an entertaining draw played out at Sixfields. All of the six goals came in the second half, starting in the 57th minute through Britt Assombalonga’s goal. Eight minutes later and Northampton levelled; Adebayo Akinfenwa scoring from close range. The madness began in the 78th minute when Kane Ferdinand gave Blues the lead before David Artell equalised soon after. The Cobblers looked to have won it when Alex Nicholls netted four minutes from time, but a dramatic last gasp Ryan Cresswell strike shared the spoils.
Blues: Belford, Clohessy, Cresswell, Phillips, Prosser, Leonard (Barker, 88), Martin (Hurst, 63), Ferdinand, Spicer, Assombalonga, Tomlin
Unused: Smith, Straker, Woodyard, Harris, Benyon
Northampton Town are 4/1 to win promotion this coming season.