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Town Insider - Northampton Town

14 September 2012

Fleetwood Town return to Highbury full of confidence after their comprehensive victory at Morecambe and on the back of three successive league wins.

By David Mitchell

Fleetwood Town return to Highbury full of confidence after their comprehensive victory at Morecambe and on the back of three successive league wins. 

The visit of Aidy Boothroyd’s Northampton Town is an opportunity to reflect on the startling progress made under Chairman, Andy Pilley, and manager, Micky Mellon over the last few years. The teams only previous meeting was in the FA Cup in November 2009.  League side Northampton came through a testing afternoon with a 2-1 victory over a Town team then in the Conference North.  Today, the teams meet with Town lying ahead of the Cobblers in the npower League 2. Eight goals in the last two games and just two conceded all season breeds confidence at both ends of the pitch but Mellon refuses to get carried away: ‘We reached a platform at Morecambe that we have to aim for every time we play. In order to do that we have to work very hard.  We’ve made a decent start, that’s all.  I’m pleased with our attacking philosophy but also proud of our defensive displays so far.’  Andy Mangan, a key supporting player with three assists at the Globe Arena, is set to make his 50th start in all matches since his transfer from Wrexham in the summer of 2011.  This milestone has been reached in a period involving just 60 games in all, a tribute to the striker’s consistency and fitness.  Mellon will once again select from a full squad with a number getting valuable match time in a 4-1 victory over a young Stoke City side in the Central League Cup in midweek.  In addition, the manager said that long-term absentee, Anthony Barry, is making ‘great progress.’ Despite the feelgood factor running through the club, Mellon has shown that he is prepared to change a winning side in a bid to ’freshen things up’ : ‘I’m loyal to the players who play and those who don’t.  We have refreshing competition for places throughout the squad and there is always somebody ready to take a place if someone else isn’t performing.  Northampton will be tough opposition but if we achieve our standards again it will be difficult for them as well.’ The Cobblers lie eighth in npower League 2 but have yet to win on the road.  Manager Aidy Boothroyd shared his thoughts with BBC Radio Northampton: “Fleetwood look very strong and mean business. They'll want to get up [win promotion] again. I think it's a massive test for us, away from home. We've got to be at our best to get something from the game. Seth Nana-Ofor (knee) is about five weeks off, and Shane Higgs (achilles) is making really good progress.  Apart from that, we're strong and fit and healthy." Lee Nicholls, on loan from Wigan Athletic, will continue to replace goalkeeper Higgs. Defender John Johnson, one of three remaining from the 2009 squad, will return to the squad if he passes a test on a shin injury while another, Luke Gutteridge has recovered from illness.  Gutteridge scored the two goals that broke Cod Army hearts three years ago. One threat for the team with the best defensive record in League 2 is likely to be ex-Walsall striker Alex Nicholls who already has five league and cup goals this season.

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