Northampton Town are set to host Cheltenham Town in the first leg of the semi-finals in the EFL League Two play-offs. The game is being held at Sixfields Stadium on Thursday 18th June at 7:45pm.
Northampton have been yo-yoing around League One and League Two for the best part of the 21st century and are looking to return to League One for the first time since their relegation in 2018.
Cheltenham haven’t been to League One since the 2008/09 season where they were relegated after a dismal season, suffering the ignominy of getting the worst goal difference and worst win percentage in the club’s history.
The other semi-final sees Exeter City take on Colchester United with the winners facing off at Wembley on the 29th of June. The play-off contenders were decided by the points-per-game system which has also ensured Swindon, Crewe and Plymouth’s promotion to League One.
Cheltenham Town 2-1 Northampton Town (25th February 2020)
Northampton Town 1-1 Cheltenham Town (29th December 2019)
Cheltenham Town 3-1 Northampton Town (23rd March 2019)
Northampton Town 1-3 Cheltenham Town (8th September 2018)
Northampton Town 2-0 Cheltenham Town (18th April 2015)
Historically, the Robins have the edge in this fixture, winning 14 compared to the Cobblers’ 11 victories along with nine draws.
Both teams have a full squad at their disposal with no current injuries reported.
Northampton do however have four players who are just one yellow card away from suspension: midfielders Shaun McWilliams and Chris Lines, centre-back Jordan Turnbull and striker Sam Hoskins will all have to be wary of their behaviour on the pitch.
Cheltenham also have two players that are a card away from suspension. Veteran left winger Luke Varney and striker Alfie May are both on four yellow cards going into the play-offs.
Cheltenham have proved this season that they are a very tough side to get the better of, suffering the fewest amount of losses in the entire division with six. This is all down to the Robins’ solid defence, conceding just 27 goals in 36 games this season. I think this will be a cagey affair and the two teams will undoubtedly be rusty having not played competitively in months. Combine that with Cheltenham’s indomitable defence and it’s tough to look past Michael Duff’s side.
Match preview written by Owen Lloyd.