We take a look at Northampton Town, who will be looking to move on from a difficult campaign...
Having missed out on promotion courtesy of play-off final defeat to Bradford City the season before, last year’s campaign was a big surprise, as Northampton Town struggled. They won just two games in the opening three months of the season and were knocked out of the FA Cup by non-league Grimsby Town. No win in December meant the pressure was on Aidy Boothroyd, and he eventually departed, to be replaced by Chris Wilder. Wilder turned their fortunes around, losing just three games in their last 15 to ensure survival.
Chris Wilder opted to leave play-off chasing Oxford United, after six years, in favour of a relegation battle with Northampton Town, signing a three-and-a-half year deal with the club. Wilder’s knowledge of League 2 helped the Cobblers survive, as he guided them to eight wins and seven draws for his 20 matches in charge. As a player, Wilder featured for a host of clubs, including Rotherham United, Sheffield United and Notts County.
ONES TO WATCH
Young striker Ivan Toney has made a big impression of boss Wilder, so much so that he signed a new three-year deal this summer to keep him at the club long-term. Toney scored in the Cobblers’ win over Oxford United.
Chris Hackett is another to have signed a new deal this summer. The winger has been a key figure for the Cobblers in the previous few campaigns, and has impressed Wilder since his arrival. Hackett scored against Blues in Northampton’s 2-1 win last season.
Marc Richards has joined the club from recently promoted Chesterfield. Richards is a proven goalscorer at this level and will be hoping to fire the Cobblers to much better things next season.
WHAT’S HAPPENED SO FAR
It’s been all changed under Wilder, with Leon McSweeney, Joe Widdowson, JJ Hooper, Gary Deegan, Alan Connell, Claudio Dias, Matty Harriott and Ben McNamar all leaving the club.
Greg Robertson, Ivan Toney and Chris Hackett have all signed new deals, with Marc Richards and defender Zander Diamond have joined the club.
Mathias Kouo-Doumbe, who scored against Blues at Sixfields, has also been released.
Southend United and Northampton Town have met 117 times over the years. Blues have won 44 of those meetings, with Northampton coming out on top 46 times. There have been 27 draws. Last season, both sides picked up the three points in their respective home games.
Northampton Town are 9/1 to go down this year, having avoided relegation on the last day of the season previously. They’re 11/2 to win promotion and 20/1 to go and win League 1.