Take a closer look at Saturday's opponents...
With just 2 wins from their last 12 games, Northampton's form has fallen off dramatically since Keith Curle gave the club something of a new-manager-bounce when appointed in October. Although difficult to beat, the Cobblers have become the draw-specialists in the division with 15 in the league, more than any other team.
Indeed, Northampton have drawn their last two outings - at home to Crawley and away at Lincoln, whilst a 2-1 win at Tranmere Rovers three games ago shows that they are more than capable of pulling off an upset, particularly away from home.
- Squad News:
January's Transfer Window was a busy one for Northampton with a total of 14 incomings and outgoings. Among those who joined the club are 20-year-old full-back George Cox on loan from Brighton, centre-back Charlie Goode on loan from Scunthorpe, centre-forward Marvin Sordell on loan from Burton Albion, 20-year-old midfielder Timi Elsnik on loan from Derby and 20-year-old Joe Powell on loan from West Ham.
Having suffered something of an injury crisis in recent weeks, the Cobblers look to be on-the-mend with John-Joe O’Toole, Ash Taylor, Dean Bowditch and Morgan Roberts all returning from the sidelines for their clash with Crawley last weekend. Sam Foley and George Cox did not feature.
- Top Performers:
The Cobblers’ top scorer this season is 32-year-old, Andy Williams. The experienced forward signed from Doncaster in the summer and has racked up 7 goals in 20 appearances so far this season. Williams began his career at Hereford United before moving to Bristol Rovers in 2007. Between then and his stay at Sixfields, he has gained plenty of Football League experience having offered his services at Yeovil Town, Swindon Town and Doncaster. The 6ft 2 attacker may prove to be a menace for the Stevenage defence, so will need to have an eye kept on by Cuthbert and co.
Another summer signing, 23-year-old Jack Bridge may also be Northampton’s key to opening up the Boro defence. After signing a permanent deal from Southend in the summer, Bridge has impressed the Northampton contingent with his technical play which has helped him score three goals this season as well as chipping in with a handful of assists too. After graduating from the Southend Academy in 2014, Bridge was sent out on-loan to a couple of National League sides, one of which being Chelmsford City where he scored 7 goals in 14 appearances.
- Key Stats:
Of the previous 9 meetings between the sides, Northampton have only lost to Stevenage once - W6, L1, D2.
Northampton Town have scored in each of their last 9 away league games, winning 3, drawing 3 and losing 3.
This season, Northampton have drawn more matches (15) than Stevenage have either won (14) or lost (13).
The Cobblers have averaged just 1.06 points per game away from home - below the league average of 1.16 - whereas Stevenage have averaged 1.82 points per game at home - above the league average of 1.58.
A 1-1 draw has been Northampton's most frequent result on the road - occuring in 20% of away games.
- Journalist’s View, with James Heneghan of the Northampton Chronicle & Echo:
Who could be Northampton’s key player on Saturday?
"Jack Bridge. After losing key men Kevin van Veen and Matt Crooks in the January transfer window, the creative burden has since been carried by Bridge. A technically gifted player who can play through the middle or on the left, Bridge scored twice and set up another against Carlisle recently, and also got an assist at Lincoln two weeks ago."
What do Stevenage have to do to beat Northampton?
"If Keith Curle plays his favoured 3-5-2 formation, there is likely to be space down the flanks for Stevenage to exploit. Colchester exposed that weakness in their recent 4-0 win over the Cobblers, although Curle has since tightened things up so it could be a cagey, low-scoring affair."
What do Northampton have to do to beat Stevenage?
"Get the balance right between defence and attack. It sounds obvious, but Northampton have been guilty of leaning too far one way or the other in recent games. Too open against Colchester, they were then overly defensive in last Saturday's goalless draw at home to Crawley. And of course, finding a way to nullify Ilias Chair's threat will be at the forefront of Curle's mind.
"As previously mentioned, I expect it to be a tight and hard-fought game so I am predicting it to finish 1-1."