Saturday 2nd January 2016
Kick Off: 15:00
Barnet: The last four matches have seen a notable improvement in the Bees’ fortunes, having taken seven points from a possible 12. Perhaps more significantly the team have performed impressively in all of their recent games. Following the 2-2 draw away at Yeovil, Martin Allen’s side have beaten Crawley Town (4-2) and Newport County (2-0). They travelled to Cambridge United on Monday, and were immensely unlucky to lose 2-1, having dominated much of the match. Barnet fans will be hoping that John Akinde can continue his recent goal scoring exploits against high-flying Northampton Town – the forward’s goal against the U’s was his 11th of the season.
Jamie Stephens and Josh Clarke look set to miss out for Barnet, but Luke Gambin has recovered from a virus. The Bees are hoping to extend the emergency loan of Ian Lawlor from Manchester City, otherwise Kai McKenzie-Lyle will deputise in goal. Meanwhile Mauro Vilhete has returned to the club, after sustaining a hamstring injury while on loan at Boreham Wood.
Martin’s View: “They’ve got good players. They’ve got a lot of players that I’ve made enquiries about, but they’re well out of our range. Northampton are near the top of the league, and so they should be. They’ve got good players right the way through their team and on their bench. Chris Wilder has put together a tremendous side. There’s no doubt that they’ll be playing at a higher level next season, and rightly so.”
Read more from the manager’s pre-match interview here.
Northampton Town: Things couldn’t be going much better for the Cobblers – they currently lie second in League Two with a game in hand over a number of their promotion rivals. Northampton’s rise towards the summit of the table is even more impressive when you consider the financial issues that they had to contend with for the early months of the campaign. Those difficulties have now been resolved, following Kelvin Thomas’ takeover of the club. The Cobblers have won eight of their last ten matches, only losing on one occasion (1-2 at home to Portsmouth). That run puts them top of the form chart, with the best home form in the division.
In The Dugout: Experienced manager Chris Wilder has been in the Northampton Town dugout since January 2014. The former Sheffield United and Rotherham full-back’s first managerial role was at Alfreton Town – Wilder won four trophies with the Reds in one season, including the Northern Counties East Premier Division title. That success earnt him a move to Halifax Town, where he stayed for six years until the club were liquidated. A brief spell as Bury assistant manager followed, before he was appointed Oxford United manager in December 2008. The Stocksbridge-born coach will be best remembered at the Kassam Stadium for winning promotion to League Two via the play-offs in 2010. After 269 games in charge, Wilder left to join Northampton Town – saving them from relegation to the Conference in 2014.
Dangerman: Marc Richards is leading the club’s scoring charts this season, with 13 goals in all competitions. The 33-year-old striker began his career at Blackburn Rovers, but only managed one appearance for the Lancashire side. Richards first came to prominence during a loan spell at Swansea City – he demonstrated his goal-scoring prowess by finding the net seven times in 17 matches. This run of form attracted the attention of Northampton Town, who brought him to Sixfields in 2003. An injury-hit second season with the Cobblers saw the Wolverhampton-born forward move on to Barnsley, where he won promotion to the Championship via the League One playoffs. However it was with Port Vale where Richards enjoyed his most consistent goal-scoring form. He played a total of 202 games for the Valiants between 2007 and 2012, scoring 75 goals and reaching double-figures in four consecutive seasons. The set-piece specialist left Vale Park for Chesterfield (winning promotion from League Two), before re-joining Northampton Town at the beginning of last season.
Last Meeting: Barnet’s first win back in the Football League came against the Cobblers earlier this season. The Bees beat Northampton 2-0 on 18th August 2015, in front 2466 fans at The Hive. The Tuesday night match saw John Akinde score his first two league goals of the season; a 63rd minute penalty, followed by a late strike in the final minutes of the match. To read the report from the game, click here.
Ticket Details: Barnet supporters will be housed in the stadium’s South Stand (seated), where on-the-day admission prices are: Adults – £22.00, Seniors (Over 65) – £18.00, Juniors (under 18) – £10.00, Under 7’s – FREE. Disabled adults are £16.00 with carers free of charge. The deadline for buying advanced tickets has passed, but tickets can still be purchased before kick-off at Northampton Town.
Travel: The supporters’ coach leaves The Hive at 12:00 and costs £24 return. You can also get a shuttle bus to The Hive for just £1 each way. For more details click here.
Follow The Match: If you can’t get to Sixfields, you can listen to full commentary of the match on Bees Player HD. We’ll also have live twitter updates throughout the game, and a match report & post-match reaction on barnetfc.com.