Rovers travel to Northampton for a table-topping clash at Sixfields.

The league’s best away record will come up against one of the league’s best home records.

Northampton were one of FGR’s toughest opponents when the teams met at TFCNL in September – a Jamille Matt goal in the 77th minute was all that divided the sides.

Northampton’s Sixfield Stadium is just over 2 hours from Nailsworth by coach or car (via Swindon & Oxford).  The postcode is NN5 5QA.  Parking at the ground costs £4 and there are reasonable alternative free parking options that are pretty close.  A number of food outlets are very close to the ground including TGI Fridays, Taco Bell, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Bella Italia, as well as the Sixfields pub.

Rail travel is possible but it does take over 3 hours, involves 2 changes, and the station is 1.5 miles from the stadium.  The last train back to Stroud leaves at just before 7pm.  Recent reports from rail travellers coming to Nailsworth suggest there are many cancellations on the network due to staff shortages.

Visiting supporters are seated behind one of the goals in the Imperial Cars South Stand.  The capacity of the stand is about 1,000 – the stadium capacity is around 7,700.  There is a bar and other refreshments for away fans pitchside.

Tickets cost £22 for adults, £18 for seniors and u-21’s, £10 u-18’s, free for u-7’s.  You can’t buy away fan tickets online so you’ll have to go through FGR or buy on the day.

Sixfield Stadium with the South Stand (away supporters) nearest the camera. 

Northampton have been yo-yo’ing over recent seasons.  They were in League 2 in 2019, then promoted to League 1 in 2020, then relegated back to League 2 in 2021.

But the Cobblers have been looking very strong this season and must be hopeful of an automatic promotion back to League 1.

They currently sit in 3rd place in the league, 8 points behind Rovers, having played a game more.

Like Rovers they had a series of postponements over Christmas, and came back to action on New Years Day.  Before Christmas they had chalked up 4 wins on the trot.  Since Christmas they have suffered 2 defeats in 2 matches (a 5-2 defeat at Swindon and a 1-0 loss at home to Crawley).

The Cobblers striker in form this season is Sam Hoskins (number 7).  The striker has 8 league goals so far, all of them from shots inside the box.

Nearly as prolific as Hoskins, defender Jon Guthrie (number 5) is having his best goalscoring season for a while.  A danger from set pieces in the box, Guthrie has scored 2 headed goals plus 4 close-range shots this season.

But Northampton have goals from almost all their regular players – defender Fraser Horsfall (number 6) has 4 goals, usually headers; attacking midfielder Paul Lewis (number 8) also has 4 goals.

Northampton did have the services of Spurs loanee, Kion Etete, up until a few days ago.  The forward impressed sufficiently for Spurs to recall him from his season-long loan.  It is rumoured he may go out on loan to Cheltenham next.

The Cobblers set up as a 4-2-3-1 in their last home game, with striker Danny Rose (number 32) leading the line.  Rose has just the 1 league goal this season (not much better than last season when he finished with 4 league goals in 38 games, albeit in League 1).

Sam Hoskins, Northampton’s in-form striker, has 8 goals this season.

Jon Guthrie moved from back to England from Livingston in the summer and has been enjoying his time with Northampton.

We may recognise some familiar faces in the Northampton Town squad.

Joe Mills is well known to Rovers fans.  Joe was a regular in FGR’s starting line-up after he joined us in 2018.  He captained FGR during his 70 appearances for us and will be very fondly remembered.  Goals against Cheltenham at The New Lawn and a last-minute equaliser against Swindon Town live long in the memory.  Many were sad to see Joe move to Northampton in 2020, where he was named captain of The Cobblers.  A broken leg in late August threatened to be a career-ending injury for Joe.  But he has worked his way back to fitness and was an unused sub when Northampton played Swindon on New Years Day.

Some will remember goalkeeper Jonny Maxted.  Since playing for Rovers in 2015/16, Jonny has had spells at Guiseley, Accrington & Exeter City before signing for Northampton last summer.  He tends to be Northampton’s 2nd string keeper.

Joe Mills in FGR days, celebrating his last-minute goal against Swindon.

Keeper Jonny Maxted made 20 appearances for Rovers between 2015 and 2016.

  • Northampton’s  nickname of the Cobblers reflects the town’s long association with the shoe-making industry.  The club crest even features a shoe at its centre.
  • One of the club’s most memorable moments was when they won promotion to the top tier of the football league in 1965.  However, they lasted only one season in the top flight and, during this time they achieved a record – the fastest rise from the 4th tier to the top tier and back again to the 4th tier in just 9 seasons.  Nobody else has done this quicker!
  • Other than the flurry of activity mentioned above, Northampton have spent their entire time in the 3rd and 4th tiers of English football since they were admitted to the league in 1921.
  • Memorable dates in Northampton history include a record 8-2 loss to Manchester United in the FA Cup 6th round in 1970 when George Best scored 6 times in the match.  Best was presented with the matchball signed by all the Northampton players to commemorate his feat.  A better day out for Northampton that lives in the memory is when they beat Liverpool at Anfield in the Football League Cup in 2010 (winning on penalties after a 2-2 draw).
  • Recent Northampton managers include Chris Wilder between 2014-16 (Wilder later guided Sheffield United to the Premiership, of course, and now manages Middlesborough) and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink between 2017-18 (now in charge at Burton Albion).

Chris Wilder in his Northampton days.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink as Northampton manager in 2017-18.