Set-pieces the key: Northampton v Cheltenham

In the second League Two play-off match up, Northampton Town host Cheltenham in a game where set-pieces should be key. Who will come out on top? Have a read of our preview here:

On your head son

In a season where it was once again unequivocally proven you can play your way out of League Two, Northampton remain staunch in their more physical approach, and it has worked a treat.

They may not have produced the passing displays of Swindon, Crewe or Argyle this season, but they have beaten all of them at least once during 2019/20.

They squad Keith Curle put together is perfectly suited to his style and they have been unapologetic about playing to their strengths, and why shouldn’t they be?

This is a side that was only beaten twice in the league during a run from mid-October to early February, and they have claimed a place in the play-offs on merit.

Nicky Adams has been their most creative player, putting in more accurate crosses (65) than any other player in the division.

The ex-Bury and Carlisle man has also created a team-high 44 chance, and he will be a key influencer on Thursday evening.

Since the start of the 2015-16 campaign, if you include the play-offs, Adams has provided 59 assists in League Two, 26 more than any other player in the competition in this period. He has 12 for the Cobblers in 2019-20.

At the back, Charlie Goode has been granite-like, tough, immovable and very hard to break down. His aerial ability has seen him win 293 duals when the ball is off the ground while no player has made more interceptions (339) than the defender in League Two this season.

Set-pieces are where their strength lies, scoring more goals from set-piece situations than any side in the division this season, and with strong attackers like Vadaine Oliver and Harry Smith, they are bound to test the Cheltenham defence to the full.

Cheltenham are the veritable pick ‘a mix

Cheltenham are one side that many did not predict to make the play-offs this season, yet Michael Duff has done a superb job of making the consistently hard to beat.

The Robins have only lost six games in 2019/20, less than any other team in League Two.

The back three has been their key strength with Ben Tozer and Charlie Raglan showing huge quality and leadership with either young gun Jacob Greaves or leader Will Boyle.

Owen Evans had some big shoes to fill after Scott Flinders suffered a broken leg partway through the campaign, yet the former Macclesfield loanee has been excellent in net.

Luke Varney oozes quality reflecting his years playing at a higher level while January signing Alfie May has made the biggest impact of any player signed during the winter window, netting six goals in 12 league appearances since signing from Doncaster.

With Ryan Broom pulling the strings in midfield and Chris Hussey showing his quality from set-pieces, this Cheltenham side has a bit of everything hence why they have been so successful this season.

Northampton Town v Cheltenham Town betting tip

It finished 1-1 between these two sides when they met at Sixfields earlier this season and you can expect another close match-up. That’s why we are going with Cheltenham draw no bet at odds of 2.1 with Betfair in this one.

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