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Club News

PART ONE: A CLOSER LOOK AT LEAGUE ONE

An in depth look at next season's opposition

16 June 2023

Club News

PART ONE: A CLOSER LOOK AT LEAGUE ONE

An in depth look at next season's opposition

16 June 2023

The line-up for the 2023/24 season in Sky Bet League One is now complete. We take a closer look at the Cobblers opposition for the upcoming campaign.

BARNSLEY

Manager: Michael Duff

Last season: 4th in League One

Barnsley’s season finished in the cruellest of ways, conceding a goal in the final minute of extra-time in the play-off final against Sheffield Wednesday after admirably staying in the game despite being down to 10-men for the majority of the match.

Barnsley were relegated from the Sky Bet Championship in the 2021/22 season with Michael Duff leaving Cheltenham Town to take over for the 2022/23 season. Duff lead them to a strong season in the third tier, with the club finishing on 86 points, sealing their place in the play-offs in 4th. They beat 5th placed Bolton Wanderers over two legs before the Wembley final against Sheffield Wednesday.

Our previous meeting with Barnsley ended up in a 2-1 victory for the Cobblers in the first round of the EFL Cup in 2016/17. Josh Scowen put hosts Barnsley in front in the 21st minute. The Cobblers levelled things early in the second half thanks to an Adam Davies own goal which took the match in to extra-time. John-Joe O’Toole headed in a Matt Taylor corner in the 114th minute of stoppage time to send the Cobblers in to the second round.

BLACKPOOL

Manager: Neil Critchely

Last season: 23rd in the Championship

 

Blackpool returned to the third tier of English football after two years in the Championship, finishing 23rd. Neil Critchley left the club in pre-season to become Steven Gerrard’s assistant at Aston Villa and the club appointed former boss, Michael Appleton to take them in to their second season in the Championship.

The move didn’t go as planned with Appleton leaving in January after 10 games without a win. He was replaced by Mick McCarthy, making a return to the dug out for the first time since leaving Cardiff City in 2021. Things didn’t improve as hoped and McCarthy resigned from his role in April after two wins from his 14 games in charge. Stephen Dobbie took caretaker charge for the rest of the season but could not avoid the drop with Blackpool relegated to League One. Neil Critchley has recently returned to the club and will lead the team in to the new season.

Our previous meeting with Blackpool saw the Cobblers lose 3-0 thanks to goals from Luke Garbutt and a Jerry Yates brace. Critchley was the man in the dug out for the Seasiders with now Northampton Town assistant, Colin Calderwood, his number two that day.

BOLTON WANDERERS

Manager: Ian Evatt

Last season: 5th League One

It was a strong season for Ian Evatt’s men as they finished in the Sky Bet League One play-offs in their second season in the third tier, improving on finishing 9th in the previous season. Current manager Evatt has been in charge of the club since 2020 and has been steadily improving them. He left his role as manager of Barrow take charge at Bolton and won automatic promotion for League Two in his first season at the helm. He has since lead the club to 9th and 5th placed finished in League One and will be hoping to go even better in the 2023/24 season.

As well as finishing 5th in the league this season, the Trotters also had a Wembley victory of their own, defeating Plymouth Argyle in the final of the Papa John’s Trophy in front of an astonishing 79,389 fans, the second highest attendance in the competition's history. A month on, Bolton handed manager Ian Evatt a new three-year contract.

Our previous meeting with Bolton Wanderers was back in 2017 with both sides in League One. The Cobblers took the lead just before the hour mark with Michael Smith meeting a Matt Taylor free-kick perfectly. Bolton hit back in the 75th minute with Adam Le Fondre scoring a penalty before Filipe Morais sealed the three points for the home side in the 82nd minute.

BRISTOL ROVERS

Manager: Joey Barton

Last season: 17th in League One

Bristol Rovers finished 17th in League One following their promotion from Sky Bet League Two on the final day of the 2021/22 season. It was their first campaign in League One.

Joey Barton took over at Bristol Rovers in the 2020/21 season after leaving Fleetwood Town earlier in the campaign but he was unable to stop Rovers dropping in to League Two. Bristol Rovers returned to League One at the first time of asking though, getting promoted automatically after finishing third.

Our previous meeting with Bristol Rovers saw us lose 1-0 at Sixfields thanks to a first minute goal from Harry Anderson in March 2022. The Cobblers didn’t recover after going behind, with our afternoon getting tougher when Tyler Magloire went off injured after just 19 minutes, dislocating his shoulder in a nasty clash, he was replaced by then 18 year old Peter Abimbola, who was making his league debut for the football club.

BURTON ALBION

Manager: Dino Maamria

Last season: 15th in League One

It was a respectable campaign for the Brewers last season, although it was not always as comfortable as the final table shows. Early in the season Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink left the club following a poor run of form that left Burton Albion at the bottom of the table. Hasselbaink’s assistant, Dino Maamria took over in caretaker charge before quickly being appointed to the position permanently.

Following Maamria’s confirmation as the permanent manager, Burton’s season went from strength to strength and left fears of relegation a distant memory, they enjoyed a strong October and November to get them out of immediate danger and the built on that for the rest of the season, eventually finishing in a respectable 15th position. They enjoyed some excellent wins over the course of the season, beating the likes of Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley.

Our previous meeting with Burton Albion resulted in a 2-0 defeat for the Cobblers in the League One season that had to be played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was Jon Brady’s first match in charge of the club. Danny Rose hit the bar for the Cobblers in a game that could’ve gone either way. Michael Bostwick and Ryan Edwards got the goals for the visitors on the day.

CAMBRIDGE UNITED

Manager: Mark Bonner

Last season: 20th in League One

It was a dramatic end to the season for Cambridge United last season as they secured League One safety in the final game of the season after beating already relegated Forest Green Rovers with MK Dons unable to get the result they needed. Mark Bonner took charge of the U’s in 2020, initially on a caretaker basis before landing the role permanently, and led his side to promotion from League Two in the Covid season of 2020/21.

Their first season in League One was a comfortable one, with United managing to finish 16th following a consistent season where they were never really troubled with any sort of relegation fears. It was a steady season and one they would have been delighted with as a newly promoted side. The following season didn’t pan out that way however,  but they did manage to stay up on the final day due to winning themselves with MK Dons drawing, sparking jubilant scenes for United at the end of the match.

Our previous meeting with Cambridge United was last season in the Papa John’s Trophy. Visiting Cambridge United won the match 2-0 against an extremely young Cobblers side who started the match with seven teenagers on the pitch and finished it with nine.


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