The Saddlers’ first home game of September sees us hosting Northampton Town at The Poundland Bescot Stadium in a battle of the hotshots. Cobblers striker Sam Hoskins sits in 1st position in the league scoring charts, with 8 goals from 7 games, whilst our own Danny Johnson sits 2nd in the league scoring charts with 6 goals from 7 games.
Our visitors, Northampton Town are managed by Jon Brady who is now in his second full season in charge, and who will be hoping to exceed last season’s performance where he led the club to the League Two Play-Off Semi Final, falling to Mansfield Town 3-1 on aggregate.
The Cobblers arrive sitting 5th in League Two with 14 points from their first 7 fixtures. They score a lot, but also concede a few too, having scored 14 goals and conceded 10 goals in those 7 fixtures. All of their fixtures, bar one, have seen 2 goals or more scored in them.
After a pretty successful season last time out, there have been a number of players leave for new challenges, such as ex-Saddler, Liam Roberts, who can currently be found starting for Middlesbrough in The Championship, but of course reinforcements were brought in too. One of those reinforcements was striker Danny Hylton who signed on a free transfer from Luton Town, and he will need to be watched carefully, especially as he will be eager to get his first goal for the club after failing to hit the net in his first 7 games.
Two other Cobblers to watch out for are the aforementioned Sam Hoskins, who as we’ve seen is top of the scoring charts this season, averaging a goal every 79 minutes, and another ex-Saddler in the form of defender Jon Guthrie who signed a contract extension with the club until 2025, and has proven to be a decent goal contributor with 8 goals in 46 league games last season. Again, he is yet to open his account this season, and netting against Walsall will surely give him a little bit of extra motivation to do it this weekend.
Northampton Town’s last six fixtures have been:
13th Aug - Hartlepool United (H) - Won 2-1
16th Aug - Crawley Town (A) - Won 3-2
20th Aug - Crewe Alexandra (A) - Drew 2-2
27th Aug - Doncaster Rovers (H) - Lost 1-0
30th Aug - Ipswich Town (A) (PJT) - Lost 6-0
3rd Sept - Barrow (H) - Won 3-1
Now looking at The Saddlers and we head into this fixture in a poor run of form. No wins in the last 5 league games, and no wins in the last 7 games across all competitions. Our last win was in the Carabao Cup against Swindon Town. We need a positive result to kick this slump to the kerb.
Michael Flynn faces a tough test this weekend against our opponents, who are considered to be one of the teams up there fighting for promotion at the end of the season, and he will have been encouraged by his squad at Bradford, who although losing, did show some character and fight to get back into the game and to attack. Bradford fans commented that we were one of the best attacking teams they’d seen this season so far, so let’s hope we stay attacking in this one.
Since our last fixture, the club have made two more signings from the free transfer market, 17-year old Jonas Mukuna, who surely will be for the youth / reserve team, and ex-Chelsea player Jacob Maddox who is looking to get his career kick-started before it’s too late. Reports suggest that if he can get performing he could be a stand out player in the league, but based on the last few years he has a lot to do to get up to that level. Fingers crossed it works out for him and for us too.
Team news ahead of this game is the same as it has been for most of the season. There are no new injuries to report on, but there has been some positive movement on Liam Gordon who is now back training on grass, potentially just a few weeks away from being considered for selection.
Given the recent incomings, and our current winless streak, who would you start on Saturday? If we play two up top, would you play Cashman over Williams? Would you change the formation? Let us know.
Let’s hope we can put the winless run to bed in this fixture and look forward rather than backwards this season. How many UTS’ers are going to be In attendance? How do you see the game going?
I think we will extend our winless run to 8, but take a point in an entertaining 2-2 draw. Fingers crossed for the win though!
- Walsall Win
- Northampton Town Win