From a Cobblers perspective I will be going to Mansfield on Saturday with the expectation of one thing, three points, writes Jordan Godfrey.
We have been absolutely flying since the turn of the year and with our next few fixtures versus Mansfield and others around the drop zone we have to ensure we continue our march towards the playoffs.
Its been a very up and down season so far, it started well followed by an horrific loss of form and now on our best win streak in years.
One thing that clearly affected us earlier in the season was injuries. We had at one stage over 10 players on the treatment table.
The majority of these are fit again and the benefits of selecting a settled side have been clear to all.
Chris Wilder has said throughout the season he wants a small squad high on quality and its been the complete opposite with loads of loanees to cover the injuries.
When everyone was fit the squad was huge, so we paid up a few contracts early (18 months early in Emile Sinclair’s case) to get the numbers down.
Three quality players have been brought in also, Brendan Maloney (RB), Ricky Holmes (Winger) and Jason Taylor (CM destroyer) who have all been fantastic.
One of the noticeable improvements in our play recently has been the ability to adapt to different situations and to play different ways.
We now have the ability to counter-attack, to press, go long or pass it around.
The wingers put in a tireless shift up and down the wings and the full-backs overlap and bomb on. All this creates chances for the league’s top scorer ( I would argue the best all round player) Marc Richards.
He has been deadly this season, 16 goals in the league and he missed a month through injury.
On a slightly different note the Mansfield game has been turned into John-Joe O’Toole day by the fans.
People will be attending in wigs as a testament to our long haired no 10, who has already had several ups and downs, so much so he was loaned out to Southend and allowed to play against us.
Now though he seems to have really settled and is playing really well, I can only hope he gets on the score sheet and sends a large away following home happy.
And thanks to Mansfield for the £7 tickets, the number of fans we are taking has been bosted.
As for a score prediction I am going to go with a 3-1 win (Cresswell, O’Toole, Richards).
The team has barely changed over the weeks and I don’t expect it to here. Therefore we should line up like this:
Maloney Cresswell Collins Horwood
D’ath Byrom Taylor Holmes