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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Big Match Preview

League Two
Grimsby Town vs. Northampton Town
Friday April 2, 19:45, Blundell Park

Grimsby Town continue their fight against relegation from League Two on Friday evening as they host a Northampton side chasing a place in the play-offs.

With eight games remaining, the Mariners are four points adrift of safety and see their 99-year stay in the Football League firmly in the balance.

It's the result of a disastrous season that has seen them in the bottom two since September. That poor start cost Mike Newell his job, and Town replaced him with youth team coach Neil Woods.

Unfortunately for Woods, it took him 26 games to record a victory in a run that, despite securing plenty of draws, broke a club record for consecutive winless games.

However, recent form has re-ignited survival hopes that appeared forlorn a few weeks ago. The Lincolnshire club are unbeaten on home soil in their last four games - including winning the last two.

They were secured over high-flying Bournemouth and top seven hopefuls Shrewsbury, so Grimsby will be confident of adding to their good recent record at Blundell Park in their remaining home games.

They'll be pinning their hopes on the experienced front duo of Lee Peacock and Barry Conlon to find the goals which can find them the wins they desperately need.

Northampton have risen up League Two in 2010 under Ian Sampson

A game against in-form Northampton is likely to present a difficult challenge to the Mariners though.

With five wins and a draw in their last six games, Cobblers, along with table topping Rochdale, are the form side in League Two.

Indeed, under former playing legend Ian Sampson, it's been a fantastic run of form from the Sixfields outfit. Before last weekend's draw at Lincoln, they had won five games on the bounce.

It's what's propelled them from the 18th position they occupied at the start of 2010, to their current standing of 8th - just a point off the play-offs.

The stand-out man up front for Cobblers is the much-travelled Bayo Akinfenwa, whose 15 goals have been an important factor behind their rise up the division.

The impressive Ryan Gilligan has also chipped in with 11 goals, and that pair will need to be kept quiet if Northampton are to be stopped from continuing their fine run of form.

Both sides will be desperate for all three points therefore, and a draw isn't much good for either. For that reason, it could be quite an open affair with goals at either end. It may well be yet another draw for Grimsby though.

Nobes' Prediction: Grimsby Town 2 Northampton Town 2

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