Despite being dumped out of the League Cup by EFL Championship side Reading F.C. in midweek, Plymouth Argyle F.C. will be feeling optimistic going into their next league fixture at Sixfields Stadium, as they currently sit in one of the automatic promotion spots, one place below South-West rivals Exeter City having only lost one league match so far this season. On the other hand, Northampton Town F.C. may well not be too confident ahead of the match on Saturday, even though they will be at home. The Cobblers have only picked up four points from five games in a disappointing start to the season which leaves them in 20th position. A win for them may well kickstart their season.
Northampton Town What To Watch
Although the Northampton Town defence has not been great (to put it mildly) over the past few seasons, it isn’t for the want of trying. One bold strategy manager Keith Curle has decided to try at the start of the season is the reintroduction of fullback Joe Bunney to the squad. Last season, it was clear that Bunney wasn’t in the plans of Curle, or his predecessor Dean Austin. This season, in a complete turnaround, he seems to be making regular starts for the club. Tinkering won’t help the Cobblers defence too much and fans will be hoping whoever takes their place in the defence, they will be able to form much needed partnerships at the back.
The creativity in the squad this season will lie heavily on the shoulders of versatile player Nicky Adams. The former Bury man is in his second spell with Northampton, having previously left the Cobblers in 2016 to join Carlisle United F.C.. Adams is useful both in midfield and in a more advanced position where the 32-year-old has the ability to chip in with a few goals too. Despite a poor start to the season so far, fans will be hoping that Adams can find his form as the season goes on.
Like their opposition, Northampton do have a few options to choose from when it comes to strikers. One of the forwards who will be hoping to make a real difference this season is Vadaine Oliver. The former York City F.C. man has not exactly been prolific at any club he has played for so far in his career. After leaving Morecambe F.C. at the end of last season, this may well be the last chance saloon for Oliver to prove he is good enough to play in the Football League. Pressure can sometimes bring out the best in a player and let’s hope that is the case for Oliver.
Plymouth Argyle What To Watch
Defensively, Plymouth have been extremely impressive in the early stages of the season. The Pilgrims have kept four clean sheets in all competitions so far and owe a lot of that to their two goalkeepers who are causing a real selection dilemma for manager Ryan Lowe. Loan signing Alex Palmer has so far been featuring in the league games while Plymouth youth product Michael Cooper has held his own in the League Cup. Whether Lowe sticks with Palmer in the league is yet to be seen, but with real competition for places in the team, it is a nice dilemma to have.
One eye-catching signing that Plymouth announced over the summer was the capture of former Bury F.C. player Danny Mayor. Bury’s financial problems in recent times have been well documented, and when manager Ryan Lowe departed in the summer to join Plymouth, he brought a number of the players with him. Mayor is without doubt the most impressive of all the players he brought in from his former club. At EFL League Two level, the tricky winger is a menace to every defence in the league, often opting to cut in from the right-hand side and attempt a curling effort on goal. If Mayor is on top of his game, the Northampton defence will be in for a long afternoon.
Plymouth certainly have a few options to choose from up top as well. One striker who will be hoping to keep his place in the team on a regular basis is Ryan Taylor. The tall frontman has already been with the Pilgrims for over 2 years without consistently hitting form. If Taylor fails to find the net on a regular basis, he may well be shown the door come the end of the season, but with the service he has around him this season, all he has to do is stay calm and know the chances will come.
Northampton Town vs Plymouth Argyle Prediction
Plymouth exited the third tier on goal difference last season and look very much like they have every chance of regaining their spot in League One at the end of this season. Northampton, on the other hand, have the feeling of a season of mediocrity surrounding them, but this doesn’t mean a good result against a bigger team is out of the question. However, I don’t feel they will be too happy leaving Sixfields Stadium on Saturday.
Prediction: Plymouth Argyle - 3 Northampton Town -1