There must have been lumps in Northampton throats when it became clear that they’d be meeting Bradford City for the fifth time this season in the League Two play-off final – they’ve failed to best the Bantams in four clashes this term, recording just one win in the sides’ last 10 meetings.
However, the Cobblers will know that those games will all count for nought when they meet again in the final and they can be backed for an underdog victory at 2/1.
Although Town have failed to get the better of Phil Parkinson’s League Cup finalists in their clashes this term they’ve drawn two of the four meetings, only losing the other two fixtures by one goal. With such fine margins of success and failure it’s far from implausible that Aidy Boothroyd’s outfit can upset the form book.
That’s exactly what they did in the semi-finals, overcoming a Cheltenham side who had beaten them home and away in the regular season.
Before the first leg of Burton’s play-off semi-final at Valley Parade, it was put to Albion manager Gary Rowett that Bradford had beaten his side three times in the regular season. The Burton gaffer explained that his side knew exactly how the Bantams worked, but had merely failed to thus far see through their game plan against them – Albion won the first leg 3-2.
Boothroyd has by now had ample chance to work out a system to counteract Bradford’s attacking strengths.
Defensively the Cobblers are tighter than they’ve been all season at present, recording shut-outs in four of their last five games. Veteran centre-half Clarke Carlisle has been rock solid, whilst Lee Nicholls kept goal like a demon against Cheltenham, with a penalty-save amongst several vital interventions.
A Northampton win to-nil is available to be backed at generous 4/1.
In Boothroyd they have a man with winning play-off experience at the helm, with the young gaffer having steered unfancied Watford past Leeds and into the Premier League with a 3-0 victory back in 2006 and he can taste further success this year with Northampton.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.