Date: 1st November 2018 at 9:00pm
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Crewe Alexandra look to start November off with a victory as we head south to Sixfields Stadium to face Northampton Town.

Looking at the hosts, so far this season they have 4 victories, 6 draws and 6 losses in the league as they sit in 18th place, just behind the Alex. They have beaten Colchester United, Forest Green Rovers, Macclesfield Town and Oldham Athletic, they have drawn with Carlisle United, Cambridge United, Tranmere Rovers, Notts County, Bury and Swindon Town whilst their defeats have come against Lincoln City, Morecambe, Cheltenham Town, Port Vale, Mansfield Town and MK Dons.

In cup competitions, they lost on penalties to Wycombe Wanderers in the EFL Cup whilst they lost to Wycombe then beat Oxford United in the EFL Trophy and will play Fulham’s Under-21 team on Tuesday.

Looking back in the archives, the two teams have met 66 times with Northampton leading the head-to-head with 26 wins to 24 with 16 draws. Crewe’s biggest win came in a 3-0 victory at the Alexandra Stadium in March 1971 while Northampton’s biggest win came at the same ground in November 1986 with a 5-0 win. The last season that the teams played was during our promotion season of 2011/12 which saw both games end 1-1.

Who are the officials for the game?

The officials for this game see Scott Oldham as the man in the middle where he is assisted by Christopher Husband and Paul Lister with Rob Smith being the fourth official. During the last 5 seasons the following Crewe games have been refereed by Oldham:

  • Crewe Alexandra 2-1 Rotherham United (4th November 2017, FA Cup) – Walker, Ainley
  • Morecambe 0-1 Crewe Alexandra (21st November 2017) – Ng

I asked Northampton supporter Brendan Walsh, writer for The Shoe Army, for his thoughts going into the game.

What do you think of Northampton’s transfer activity over the summer?

Seeing as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink signed a fairly astonishing 13 players in January, I would have been very surprised at that much activity this summer. The name of the game was mainly holding on to the clearly talented players we had and hoping that they would decide to turn up in League 2. Saying that, there were some shrewd additions in Hakeen Odoffin and Junior Morais. The latter has looked brilliant in his cameos around his injuries and should be a great signing when he gets his chance.

What do you think the team will be for Saturday’s game?

One of the contenders for player of the season will be suspended as Sam Foley starts his 3 match ban for an extremely questionable straight red against Oldham last weekend. After starting with his infamous 3-5-2 formation in his first few games, Keith Curle has opted for 4 at the back in his last 2 matches and is typically coy on selections and injuries in the mid-week so it’s hard to say. I would like to see McWilliams alongside John-Joe O’Toole behind Crooks in the midfield, if we keep them together then we will have a chance.

Who would you say is the one player that we should look for in the Town team?

Matt Crooks. Joint top goalscorer, when he plays well then Cobblers rarely lose. He is a clear cut above this league, coasting around the middle of the park. Quick and very strong with a deft touch, he will be looking for the pockets between the two midfields and isn’t shy of a shot from distance.

Billy Waters, who features in our Academy Alumni columns, is part of the Cobblers squad. What do you think of him as a player and where do you feel he should fit in your squad?

Billy is a bit of enigma to be honest! It was clear even from last season that he has something about him. He is fast, has a low centre of gravity and a great change of direction. But he fell out of favour last season after a few hapless performances in front of goal and eventually went out on loan in January to Cambridge.
To be fair to him, he just looked completely devoid of rhythm and confidence. He made the decision to stay this season under the new management and has looked better for it, getting his first goal away to Colchester in August. Normally deployed a bit wider and even at RWB, he has been in and out the team but some have been calling for him to start. I would like to see him nail down a starting role and be more clinical but overall I do like him as a player.

What do you think would be a respectable season for the Cobblers and who do you think will be promoted and relegated at the end of the season?

I think after the awful start, the new manager has changed everyone’s answers to this question. After last week, Cobblers are 9 points from promotion and 8 points from relegation but definitely on the rise having only lost one game under Keith Curle, away to a very good MK side.
Logic would tell me that a late playoff push would probably be most realistic but I fear we may have got going too late to achieve one of those spots. On the other hand, we’ve improved enough that we should no longer be looking down the table anymore in fear so if we set ourselves a target and with a bit of luck, there’s no reason this squad can’t keep climbing. My bets to be promoted would be Lincoln, MK, Exeter and Forest Green through the playoffs.