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Opposition Profile: Northampton Town

9 June 2017

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A new feature where we take a closer look at who Rovers will face in League One next season.

Northampton Town

Founded: 1897
Nickname: The Cobblers

Founded 120 years ago, after meetings between the town’s schoolteachers and a local solicitor, Northampton Town hold the record for the shortest time taken to be promoted from the bottom tier to the top tier of English football and then relegated back down to the bottom tier. All in the space of just nine years!

The Cobblers, which is a reference to the town’s historical shoe-making industry, were promoted three times in five years between 1960 and 1965 (1965-66 being their only ever season in the top flight), but they were playing Division Four football again by 1969-70.

The club went into administration in 1992, which led to the formation of the Northampton Town Supporters’ Trust, who became the first supporters’ trust to take control of a football club.

Northampton finished bottom of the Football League in 1993-94, for the only time in the club’s history, but escaped relegation due to Conference champions Kidderminster not meeting ground criteria.

In 1996-97, the Cobblers reached Wembley for the first time in 100 years, where they beat Swansea in the Division Three play-off final, and they were back there again 12 months later for the Division Two play-off final, which they lost to Grimsby Town.

A period of yo-yoing between the lower leagues followed, including promotion to League One in 2005-06, followed by relegation two years later. Chris Wilder was appointed manager in January 2014, but the club were hit with a winding-up petition in October 2015.

However, Wilder led the Cobblers to a club record 10 successive league wins en route to winning the League Two title in 2016 with 99 points.

The Manager: Justin Edinburgh

Starting out at Southend, Justin Edinburgh made close on 50 appearances for the Shrimpers, winning promotion from the Fourth Division in 1990.

He joined Tottenham Hotspur that summer and made over 250 appearances, scoring just once, winning the FA Cup in 1991 and League Cup in 1999, despite being sent off in the final!

The defender moved to Portsmouth in March 2000 and made 38 appearances over the next two years, before ending his career at non-league Billericay Town, where he was made player-manager.

He later had spells in charge of Fisher Athletic, Grays Athletic and Rushden & Diamonds, who were expelled from the Football Conference in the summer of 2011.

A few months later, Edinburgh was appointed manager of Newport County, where he won the Conference Premier play-off final at Wembley in 2013, to mark a return to the Football League after a 25-year absence.

In February 2015, Edinburgh left the Welsh outfit to take over at League One side Gillingham, but was sacked just two years later. Less than a fortnight later, in January 2017, the 47-year-old took up the reins at Northampton Town.

The Ground: Sixfields Stadium

Located in the west side of Northampton, Sixfields has been the home of Northampton Town following their move from the County Ground in October 1994.

The all-seater stadium  formed a groundshare with Coventry City for the 2013-14 season and has a capacity of 7,798.

Last Season: 16th, League One

Under the stewardship of new manager Rob Page, who had replaced Chris Wilder in the summer of 2016, Northampton started the season with seven successive draws in all competitions.

And it would be a lack of victories that would cost Page his job in January 2017 after the Cobblers suffered their ninth defeat in 11 games, leaving the team in 16th position.

Justin Edinburgh was brought in and the former Gillingham boss steadied the ship, before a disappointing run-in saw the side end the season without a win in their last eight games.

In the cup competitions, the Cobblers secured a memorable penalty shoot-out victory over West Bromwich Albion in the second round of the EFL Cup, before going out to Manchester United in round three, whilst they were knocked out by seventh-tier side Stourbridge in the FA Cup at the second round stage.

Last Meeting: January 30th 1975

It’s some 42 years since the last meeting between the two teams, which Rovers won 1-0 in a League Cup second round replay at Ewood Park.

It would prove to be a memorable season for Rovers, as Gordon Lee’s side secured promotion into the Second Division after winning the Third Division title.

***Just 12 days to go until the 2017-18 EFL fixtures are released, on Wednesday June 21st***

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