I have been toying with the idea of not doing previews this season, they’re always poor performers in terms of hits and views.
Then I realised I don’t actually do this for hits and views, I do it because I love it and if I want to be better, I need to keep previewing games and understanding our opponents more. It’s too easy to be a Lincoln City fan and not care about anyone else, but in knowing our opponents properly I can hopefully write better articles before and after games.
Plus I bloody love doing previous meetings!
So, unless I forget or am too busy, there will be previews of games this season, certainly before league games.
So on to our first match against Northampton Town tomorrow, how is it only a season since we went to Wycombe all wide-eyed at being back in the Football League? Twelve months ago we were just happy to be along for the ride, I remember getting choked up as the PA welcomed us to League Two at Adams Park. That seems a world away from today, serious title challengers and full of more than just happiness at being included again.
You know all about us, so I’m not going to bang on too much about that. Maybe in the future I’ll drop team news and stuff in, but there’s no point in trying to guess how we line up tomorrow, everyone has a different thought. I understand we won’t follow the starting XI I chose the other day, but you live in hope!
So, what of Northampton Town. There’s no data to go on yet, no form and unless you missed it, I’ve already covered them in a season preview too. It is widely expected that they’ll line up in a 4-3-3 formation, similar to the one Danny trialled last year. Much will then rest on their number ten, potentially Billy Waters. He failed to make a splash (groan) at Cambridge last season, scoring twice in 18 loan outings. He’s 23 and struggled to assert himself on League One after leaving Cheltenham, but 23 goals in 80 odd outings for the Robins hint and some ability.
He’ll most likely be sat alongside Andy Williams, the former Doncaster midfielder who arrived in the summer. Williams is 31 and has been all over, Yeovil, Bristol Rovers, Swindon and now, Northampton Town. He bagged 28 goals in 94 matches for Doncaster prior to last season, but struggled in 2017/18 an ended up being released. he could be a serious threat tomorrow, depending on the service.
Their midfield is packed with talent, John-Joe O’Toole, Ash Taylor, Matt Crooks and Shaun McWilliams are all vying for a start. The one to watch here is O’Toole, he’s played 160 times for the Cobblers and is part of the furniture at Sixfields. He’ll look to pull the strings with Matt Crooks, the former Huddersfield youngster who spent time up north with Scottish giants Rangers. Those two are more than adequate for League Two and perhaps the same could be said for lower to mid table League One, so any complacency on our part is wildly misplaced.
Aaron Pierre and Ash Taylor will likely partner at the back, the former being a League Two player for many seasons with Wycombe until his switch to the Cobblers, but Taylor has significant pedigree. he’s another who has enjoyed top flight football in Scotland, enjoying three seasons with Aberdeen after leaving Tranmere in 2014.
How they approach the game will be interesting, Dean Austin is the manager there in his first role as a number one. He was assistant to Jimmy Hasselbaink, but he’s now stepped up despite relegation last season. Austin won two of his five games in charge, which is as many as Hasselbaink won in his previous 13.
The bookies are undecided on who’ll take this one, we can be found at 2/1 on bet365, but Northampton are at 6/4 on the same site. With so many variables, nobody is offering good odds, nor wants to call it.
Previous meetings, although they mean very little indeed, favour Northampton with 15 wins to our 13. the draw has been shared on 24 occasions and it would be foolish to believe that any other outcome was more likely tomorrow. I’d avoid this one on the coupon, but if you have to bet on the Imps go for a 1-1 (three of our last six matches against Northampton have been 1-1 draws) with one of our centre backs to score at any time. We might have signed a load of new faces, but a leopard rarely changes its spots and we’ll be just as much of a threat from set pieces as always.
I did get into tipping last season too, the odd little bet here and there. The first three were winners, but after that my luck was horrible! I’m going to be doing the same this season though, all my bets are placed with Betway so the odds may differ, but here’s my bet for this weekend.
I like the BTTS markets (both teams to score), especially in the Championship this weekend which is where a lot of my other work is done. I’ve taken West Brom and Bolton as ‘no’, with Birmingham and Norwich also a ‘no’. I can’t see Bolton breaching the West Brom defence and as for Norwich and Brum, I think both will struggle this season. Boost the odds by adding in Bristol City and Forest as a ‘yes’. That could be free scoring.
If you’re a simple win or lose gambler, here’s my three-team accumulator. Southend to beat Doncaster, Chris Powell did a super job last season after Phil Brown left Roots Hall and I firmly believe they’ll be dark horses, especially against Doncaster managed by McCann who really didn’t do it at Peterborough. get on MK Dons to beat Oldham too, it’s a clash between the relegated sides, but one has kept their squad together and the other had to sign Chris O’Grady and Jose Baxter. Last season the two shared a 4-4 draw before a narrow Latics victory, but they won’t win tomorrow. Finally, throw in Notts County to open with a win against Colchester.
The odds may have changed now, but £10 on that threefold would net you £126.78, or at least it would if you’d slapped it on a 6.05pm last night like I did.