After the quick-fire turnaround of two games in four days last weekend thanks to the extended Easter weekend, Stevenage FC are in pretty much the same situation this weekend. But don’t be getting your hopes up – it’s not another Bank Holiday festival, just a Saturday/Tuesday combo that has the potential to decide where we’ll be finishing this campaign with so few games left.
Northampton Town come to, well, um, “town” in the first of what will be a crucial double header for Boro’s playoff fortunes. If a four-point haul from the combined wit of relegation fodder Tranmere Rovers and Cheltenham Town was satisfying, it’ll be a ruddy bloody marvellous plunder if we can take the same amount from the Cobblers and then Portsmouth indoors on Tuesday.
Tuesday can wait, however. The job in hand is Chris Wilder’s Northampton and the stakes are high. We’re sat pretty in sixth at the moment, with goal difference keeping us above Newport County. The concern is that three others are just a point adrift and you don’t need to have made it past Year 6 to know that five into two won’t go and three teams will be missing out on playoffs.
Luton, hopefully, being one of them.
You can add this weekend’s glorious opponents into the mix. In fairness to Wilder, he’s lifted the Cobblers from the relegation doom they were headed for last term and has marshalled them to within five points of the playoff places. And they’ll know that getting the better of us will raise their hopes of a late entry into the promotion raffle. It’s our job to kill off that lingering hope.
On their travels, the Cobblers have been distinctly average with 11 of their 20 away games ending in abject failure. Goals seem to be a near certainty too, and at both ends – defensively, just three clean sheets; offensively, only five matches in which they’ve not scored themselves. Mind you, our guests haven’t scored in their last two away games if that’s anything we want to go by?
It makes us want to consider the Both Teams To Score market this weekend, with 11/13 the best price on a Yes at the time we sat down to write this. Over 2.5 Goals at evens is another, but the outright win? Well, you can find us chalked down at 5/4 to take all three points, with the draw and the Northampton win marked down at 5/2 and 12/5 respectively and respectfully.
Why the prattle about a Northampton Town win? Well, beating them is something that we’ve never actually done before. And take that eye-poking 2-2 FA Cup draw out of the equation from a good few years back and you’ll see that we don’t tend to score against them either; a big fat lonely zero sits in our Goals For column where the last four versus the Cobblers is concerned.
After checking out the League Two line-up for this Saturday, we might get the fortune of a couple of results go our way; Luton host leaders Burton, while Exeter have to go to Shrewsbury. But we hold the stronger hand at the moment and the prospect of Northampton Town shouldn’t change that. We simply go out and do what we’ve done 12 times in 20 home games already, no?
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