MX23RW : Wednesday, June 23 02:58:03| >> :600:5216517:5216517:
Mar 23, 2021 at 7pm UK at PTS ACADEMY STADIUM
NorthamptonNorthampton Town
Oxford UtdOxford United
Hoskins (55')
Hoskins (33')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Preview: Northampton Town vs. Oxford United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's League One clash between Northampton Town and Oxford United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Both Northampton Town and Oxford United will be looking to bounce back from defeats when they continue their respective League One campaigns with a clash in Northampton on Tuesday night.

The home side, who are currently 22nd in the table, will enter the contest off the back of a 1-0 loss to Crewe Alexandra, while 11th-placed Oxford suffered a 2-0 defeat to Blackpool.

Match preview

Northampton Town's Ryan Watson and Bristol City's Kasey Palmer in the EFL Cup on September 16, 2020© Reuters

Northampton were promoted to League One last season via the League Two playoffs, but the Cobblers are facing the possibility of dropping back into the fourth tier of English football for 2021-22.

Under the management of Jon Brady for the remainder of the season, Northampton will enter Tuesday's contest off the back of a 1-0 home defeat to Crewe, with Owen Dale scoring the game's only goal in the 74th minute.

The loss has left the Cobblers down in 22nd position in the table, having picked up just 33 points from their 36 matches courtesy of a record of eight wins, nine draws and 19 defeats.

The strugglers are only one point behind 20th-placed Bristol Rovers, though, and it is incredibly tight between the bottom six in League One, with plenty of football to play before the end of the campaign.

Northampton have actually won five of their last eight matches with Oxford in all competitions, but they suffered a 4-0 defeat when they travelled to the Kassam Stadium for the reverse game in December.

Oxford United's manager Karl Robinson pictured with Cameron Brannagan on March 2, 2021© Reuters

Oxford, meanwhile, will enter the contest off the back of a 2-0 home defeat to Blackpool on Saturday, with Kenneth Dougall and Daniel Ballard on the scoresheet for the visitors.

The U's finished fourth in League One last season, ultimately losing to Wycombe Wanderers in the final of the playoffs, and they were expected to challenge for a possible promotion once again.

Karl Robinson's side have found it difficult to show consistency this season, though, collecting 53 points from 35 matches to sit 11th in the table.

Oxford are only three points off the top six at this stage, but a lot could change in the coming weeks as a number of sides have games in hand, with Blackpool in 10th having four games spare over some of the teams in the league.

The U's will believe that they are very much in the argument for the playoffs once again, and the former League Cup winners have been relatively strong on their travels this season, picking up 25 points from 18 matches, while Northampton have struggled at home, collecting just 19 points from 18 games.

Northampton Town League One form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L

Oxford United League One form:
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L

Team News

Oxford United's Anthony Forde and Charlton Athletic's Liam Miller in action on March 6, 2021© Reuters

Northampton will again be without the services of goalkeeper Steve Arnold due to a knee problem, while Alan Sheehan is battling to be involved, having recently returned to training.

Danny Rose featured off the bench against Crewe and could now be handed a spot in the starting XI, while Ryan Edmondson and Alex Jones are in contention.

Sam Hoskins, who has three goals in 36 league appearances this season, should again feature through the middle, while Shaun McWilliams should retain his spot in midfield.

As for Oxford, Sam Winnall made his return from an ankle injury off the bench against Blackpool and should again be involved, while Anthony Forde was also included at the weekend, having tested negative for coronavirus ahead of the contest.

Sam Long and James Henry will again be absent for the away side, while Luke McNally is a doubt despite recently returning to first-team training.

Head coach Robinson is expected to resist the temptation to make wholesale changes from the Blackpool loss, but there might be an alteration in attack, with Olamide Shodipo potentially replacing Mark Sykes.

Northampton Town possible starting lineup:
Mitchell; Kioso, Jones, Horsfall, Mills; Morris, McWilliams, Watson; Rose, Hoskins, Miller

Oxford United possible starting lineup:
Stevens; Hanson, Moore, Atkinson, Ruffels; Kelly, Gorrin, Brannagan; Shodipo, Taylor, Barker

SM words green background

We say: Northampton Town 1-2 Oxford United

Both teams will be desperate to bounce back from weekend defeats, and we are expecting a close game on Tuesday night. Oxford are within touching distance of the playoffs, though, and we believe that the visitors will have enough to edge out a 2-1 victory over their relegation-threatened opponents.

Top tip

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