All you need to know ahead of the game with the CobblersLuton Town v Northampton Town
Sky Bet League 2
Saturday 25th October 2014, kick-off 3pm
Live commentary on Hatters Player, DiverseFM, BBC3CR and lutontown.co.uk
• Hatters unbeaten in eight games (W7, D1)
• Cobblers 16th, not won in four, lost last three
• Head2Head: Town wins: 38, Northampton wins: 27
WHO? Northampton Town, aka the Cobblers, from Northampton, Northamptonshire. The club were formed 117 years ago and are currently managed by former Halifax and Oxford boss Chris Wilder, who took over at Sixfields last season. Their traditional club colours have been claret and white.
KENILWORTH CRAMMED. It's going to be a big old crowd on Saturday - possible the biggest of the season so far. Make sure you read this if you haven't got a ticket yet... (it's because there isn't many left).
A LOAD OF COBBLERS. Northampton are nicknamed the Cobblers, a reference to the town’s historical shoe-making industry. If you like your shoe stories…Over 4,000 pairs of leather shoes and 600 pairs of cavalry jack-boots for the Parliamentary armies were manufactured in Northampton during the Civil War, and a further 2,000 for Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army in 1648. Until well into the 19th century, the shoe industry boomed in and around the town with small manufacturing workshops set up in the surrounding areas.
SINCE WE’VE BEEN GONE…The two clubs will meet for the first time in Football League competition since April 2008. The year the Town dropped out of the League in 2009 the Cobblers were relegated from League 1. After 11th and 16th placed finishes in League 2, Northampton almost suffered relegation to the Conference but a late rally in form kept them up. In 2012/13, the Cobblers reached the League 2 Play-Off final, only to lose to Bradford. Last season saw them struggle again, however, but Wilder kept them up. Their 21st-place finish was their lowest since they finished bottom of the old Division 3 in 1993/94 – a season they avoided relegation with Kidderminster, Conference winners, unable to meet League ground capacity criteria.
HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE? The Hatters won the last meeting between the two sides in a November 2011 FA Cup first round tie at Kenilworth Road – Adam Watkins scoring a late winner which would eventually lead to Cobblers boss Gary Johnson being sacked. Both clubs have met a total of 80 times with the Hatters winning 38 to Northampton’s 27. At Kenilworth Road the Town have won 29 of the 41 meetings. The Cobblers have won five games on Bedfordshire soil, the last coming in September 2000. That 2-0 victory was their first at Kenilworth Road since 1920. Overall 223 goals have been scored in Luton-Northampton clashes, working out at an average of 2.78 goals per game.
THIS TIME ROUND. After last season’s campaign of struggle, Northampton had started the season well and have been in and around the top seven for several weeks so far. However, the Cobblers have lost their last three games, including to Oxford on Tuesday night. Top scorer Marc Richards has eight goals so far but injury has ruled him out of the last three games…On the road this season Wilder’s side have won twice in the League, at Dagenham and Morecambe, and also at Wolves in the FA Cup.
CLUB CONNECTIONS. The Town have one former Cobbler in their ranks in the shape of Luke Guttridge, who scored 14 goals and played 112 matches for Northampton in two spells. Other players to have played for both include centre-forward Steve Howard – who joined the Town from the Cobblers and went onto to score 103 goals in 228 games – Terry Branston, Anthony Charles and Greg Taylor. Craig Hinton, who spent a short loan spell at Kenilworth Road in 2010, is the Cobblers’ Under-18 coach. Luke Wilkinson also spent a time on loan at Sixfields in 2010 but never made an appearance.
DID YOU KNOW? That the Cobblers hold the record for the shortest time taken to be promoted from the bottom tier to the top tier and relegated back down to the bottom again, in the space of nine years. Three promotions, in 1961, 1963 and 1965, saw Northampton reach the top flight. Then relegations in 1966, 1967 and 1969 completed the ultimate yoyo.
REF WATCH. Saturday’s referee Darren Sheldrake has issued five red cards in just nine games this season, that’s a dismissal every 162 minutes. It will be his first visit to Kenilworth Road and the first time he will take charge of a game involving the Hatters.
TOWN TEAM NEWS. The Town only have striker Ross Lafayette definitely ruled out as he recovers from a hernia operation. A whole host of players who had been nursing injuries all had minutes in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Wednesday against Hemel Hempstead.
COBBLERS INJURY CRISIS. The Cobblers have suffered a spate of injuries this season and Saturday’s visitors are likely to be without Marc Richards, Zander Diamond, Ian Morris, Evan Horwood, Lewis Hornby and Lee Collins.
LIVE AND ONLINE. Hatters Player is the only place to listen to online commentary of the Hatters this season and once again the DiverseFM team will be bringing subscribers all the action from Kenilworth Road. What’s more there will be a full report, reaction and photographs post-match and live text updates during the match itself.
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