IN OPPOSITION: NORTHAMPTON TOWN
Northampton Town enjoyed a tremendously successful 2015-16 season and capped it by sealing the League Two title and promotion back into League One after a seven year absence.
Former Bradford City defender Chris Wilder guided The Cobblers to a deserved return to the third tier, finishing on an emphatic 99 points and are still unbeaten in the league this calendar year. Town lost just five league games throughout the campaign and three of those came in the opening six games, leaving them in 16 position in the table.
An unbeaten run of six matches left them on the fringes of the play-off positions and following a 4-3 victory at Luton Town, Northampton reached the summit; a defeat to Portsmouth knocked them off their perch, but a 3-1 home victory against Morecambe in December sent them back top and it was a position they held until the end of the season.
During the last 24 games of the season, Town picked up 56 points with an average of over 2 points per game during the second half of a near impeccable campaign.
At The Helm: Rob Page
Following Northampton Town’s success last season, manager Chris Wilder was always likely to be a wanted man, and when Sheffield United came calling he could hardly refuse. Born in Stocksbridge, Wilder spent the first six years of his senior career as a player with The Blades and a return to Bramall Lane was on the cards earlier in the summer.
Rob Page is now at the helm at Sixfields having departed Port Vale to fill the managerial vacancy. The 41 year old had a relatively successful two year spell in charge at Vale Park following the departure of Micky Adams and last season, The Valiants finished 12th in League One. He takes over at Northampton Town with the task of establishing the club in the third tier after a seven year absence.
A key member of the title winning last season was Ricky Holmes, unfortunately for them, they haven’t been able to retain his services following his move to Charlton Athletic earlier in the summer.
Alex Revell signed for Town following his departure from MK Dons. The 6 feet 3 inches tall centre forward spent the second half of last season with Karl Robinson’s side after leaving Cardiff City. He’s a player who has a good knowledge of this level, having helped Rotherham United to victory in the 2014 League One Play-Off final against former club Leyton Orient, scoring a brace in a 2-2 draw before The Millers went on to win on penalties.
Rob Page will surely be looking towards a player of Revell’s quality and experience to help The Cobblers continue to keep climbing the ladder.
Head to Head:
The most recent meeting between the two teams is one that Bradford fans won’t be forgetting in a hurry. After City got the better of Burton Albion over two legs and Northampton got the better of Cheltenham, the two sides met in a play-off final at Wembley Stadium in May 2013.
James Hanson, Rory McArdle and Nahki Wells scored in the first half to leave the game all but won before the interval; it finished 3-0 and The Bantams earned promotion back into League One.
The two clubs have met on 29 occasions, with Bradford winning 17 of those fixtures. Six of those games have been draws with Northampton winning on six occasions also.
Their own patch:
A relatively small stadium, it has been a hectic past few seasons for Sixfields. Northampton Town shared their ground with Coventry City in 2013-14, following their departure from The Ricoh Arena. The stadium only opened in 1994 with the club moving into the new ground after leaving their former home, The County Ground.
For a while, the East Stand at Sixfields was out of use but following partial reconstruction, an amount of seats in the stand are now available to home supporters, ensuring fans can be housed in all sections of Sixfields. The West Stand is significantly the largest of the four stands with the two stands behind the goals, roughly of equal size, with one of them allocated to visiting supporters. The capacity of approximately 800 supporters.
Postcode: NN5 5QA
Fancy a flutter?
Momentum will be firmly on Northampton’s side following title success during last season and they are priced at 15/2 to make it back to back promotions. To win the title, Town are priced with Sky Bet at 22/1.