Next Up: Away to Northampton Town

It probably comes as a welcome relief to Paul Tisdale and his City side that Saturday’s fixture is away from The Park, as City’s homesickness continued last week with a 2-0 reverse against fellow high-fliers Port Vale. With Alan Gow, Liam Sercombe and Scot Bennett all making good progress following their injuries, Tisdale will have a few positive selection headaches for the visit to Northampton, where City will hope to maintain their impressive away form.

Northampton made a number of signings in the close season with plenty of experienced players joining their ranks, and were immediately installed as one of the favourites for promotion, but the season has instead been somewhat stop-start and the Cobblers find themselves in 15th place going into Saturday’s match. Manager Aidy Boothroyd took over from Gary Johnson last season and has imposed his familiar direct style, with heavyweight striker Clive Platt or Ade Akinfenwa leading the line alongside top scorer Alex Nicholls (City fans will recall Nicholls playing for Walsall last season). Watching the highlights of their games to date it would appear the majority of their goals come from corners or long throws, so City’s defence will have to stand tall to deal with this aerial threat. One familiar face in the line-up will be Chris Hackett. The ex-Millwall winger spent some time on loan at City last season, putting in a starring role as City trounced Tranmere, before he was recalled early by the Lions. Arron Davies, meanwhile, signed for City from the Cobblers this pre-season, so will no doubt want to get one over a club where he will be the first to admit he didn’t show his best form, while Guillem Bauza will also relish the opportunity to remind the home fans of what they used to have.

With Northampton having swapped places with City in 08/09, you have to go back as far as the 99/00 season for the last time the sides met. That season both matches ended 2-1 to Northampton – in fact you have to go back to the 1984/85 season for the last City victory – a 5-0 mauling. And, if City were to harbour hopes of bagging win number five on the road they’ll have to overcome a hoodoo that dates back to September 1946, the last time City came away from Northampton with a win. And don’t mention April 12th 1958 – Northampton 9 City 0! Overall the clubs have met 105 times in all competitions, with Northampton leading 46-27 in terms of wins (32 draws). Sixfields also played host to what was dubbed City’s “last ever” fixture in 1995 – a 2-1 defeat condemned City to bottom spot in Division 3 only to be saved by the somewhat stricter ground regulations of the time which denied Macclesfield a place in the Football League.

Don’t forget our look at our guide to Sixfields.

Match Officials:

Assts: Robert Ellis and Grant Taylor
Fourth Official Guy Stretton

2nd season, having reffed in the Conference last season.