Friday, 11 October 2013

PREVIEW: Northampton Home (12/10/13)

This Saturday offers another chance to end what has been a miserable run of form at home as struggling Northampton come to town. Tuesday's JPT defeat to Portsmouth was our third consecutive defeat at the Kassam and debate over the club's home form has raged (including on this site with two articles here and here).

Typically, the Cobblers, who have started the season limply and currently find themselves second bottom in the table, picked up their first away points of the season last weekend with a 2-0 win over AFC Wimbledon. And having struggled to keep the goals out in the opening stages of the season Northampton have followed up their first clean sheet of the season a fortnight ago with another shutout last weekend, so it's not going to be easy to break them down – something we have notoriously struggled to do at home. One piece of welcome news is the doubtful fitness of Chris Hackett, a familiar face after spending the first six years of his career here.

More welcome news comes from the Oxford camp, with the surprisingly quick return to form of Jake Wright and Andy Whing's return from suspension. That should cause a nice dilemma for Chris Wilder, with Michael Raynes filling in admirably in the centre of defence while the captain was out and an encouraging performance in the middle of the park from Josh Ruffels during the week. The only long-term absentee now is Jon Meades, who is still yet to make his competitive debut and is set to miss a further three months of football after an operation during the week.

It's crucial that we don't concede the first goal this weekend as that will likely double the already difficult task of breaking down a stubborn Northampton side. Aidy Boothroyd's sides are usually set up to be difficult to play against but it's one of those games where it's important to keep the ball on the floor because we won't be able to compete with them in the air. This was the approach we took for the Cobblers' last visit last November and it worked well, but we allowed ourselves to be dragged into a battle at Sixfields in the snow and came out on the wrong side side of a 1-0 scoreline.

From the Vaults

Oxford United v Northampton Town, 2nd December 1995

Oxford were looking for a quick recovery following a 2-1 defeat to Colchester in the Auto Windscreens during the week when Northampton came to town for an FA Cup second round tie. The Third Division side came to the Manor with high hopes of causing an upset but after Stuart Massey opened the scoring it turned out to be a straightforward victory for Denis Smith's men with Paul Moody striking late on to make it safe.

You can find this and many other old OUFC matches in the VIDEO VAULT!

Also This Weekend

The youth team look to follow up their 7-1 thrashing of Swindon a fortnight ago with a trip to the Youth Alliance South West division leaders Cheltenham Town this weekend. It's a tough fixture but after scoring 12 goals in their last two games, somehow I think they won't be too daunted.

The women's development squad are also coming into this weekend on the back of a 7-1 result – a 7-1 thrashing at the hands of Arsenal in their opening WSL Development League match last week. Ordinarily if you lose 7-1 in your first match you find yourself bottom of the table, but fortunately Watford (8-1 v Reading) and Yeovil (7-0 v Millwall) had even more calamitous results. And it's the Glovers who we take on next as the girls travel to Somerset for a Development League Cup match.

Don't forget you can find full fixture lists for women's, development and youth teams on our Fixtures page!

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