Northampton Town are this Tuesday's visitors to St James Park as Exeter City return to league action.
Ahead of the game, Sam Moakes picks out three tricky Cobbler customers who could be the difference, when 3rd meet 2nd.
If you’ve read any number of these articles before, then you’ll know I love a captain. In Joseph Mills’ continued recovery from a fractured ankle, Fraser Horsfall has taken over the armband as the season continues. The centre-back has played 90 minutes in 18 matches this year, missing just one game, anchoring an impressive Northampton defence.
Horsfall began his career at Huddersfield, going the usual route of finding his football during loan spells. It was Kidderminster Harriers that snapped up the defender following his release in 2017, a period that saw him called up to England C a couple of times.
Horsfall played for Macclesfield Town during the 2019/20 campaign, before joining Northampton Town last year, playing 40 league matches in all. He has been a star performer this year, continuing his good form at the back end of last year, and has even scored three times.
Now let’s go to the man up top…Well, he can sort of play anywhere really, largely being utilised on the right of the attack. Sam Hoskins has been a bright spark this season, especially of late. The attacker has netted four in his last six matches, including a game winner last time out against Orient to propel Northampton ahead of City.
To go along with his six goals, Hoskins also has a league assist to his name. Hoskins’ talent was noticeable at an early age, as he found himself in Southampton’s youth set-up at age 12. He didn’t make a professional appearance for the club, however, being loaned out to Preston, then Rotherham and Stevenage.
When finally getting his move away for first-team football, Hoskins joined Yeovil in 2013, who were in the Championship at the time. Following their slip down the leagues, Hoskins joined the Cobblers in 2015 and hasn’t looked back as he closes in on 250 appearances for the club.
Often finding himself on the opposite flank to Sam Hoskins is Mitch Pinnock, who is often the spark for this Northampton side. This should come as no surprise considering the wingers pedigree.
On the books early at Arsenal, Pinnock really began to make a name for himself at Dover, earning himself a move to AFC Wimbledon in League One, appearing 73 times for the club – not bad for his first time in the EFL. He plied his trade in the SPL last year with Kilmarnock, playing 37 times and scoring seven.
In just 17 starts so far, Pinnock has notched eight goal contributions, scoring twice and providing six assists. Hoskins on one side and Pinnock on the other has plagued opposing full backs since the start of the season. Boss Jon Brady had high praise for the winger when he joined this summer: “He is very fit and full of energy and he will give us natural balance.”