The View From The Opposition: Northampton

DESPITE a better performance, Millwall slipped to a fourth straight league defeat a fortnight ago, losing 2-1 at Walsall.

A Checkatrade Trophy victory over Gillingham stopped the rot, but the Lions will now look to get back to winning ways in the league after the international break, beginning with a tricky trip to Northampton Town on Saturday. Northampton Town Supporters' Trust member James Averill provides The View From The Opposition.

Name: James Averill

Twitter: @javerill14

What made you support Northampton?: Like many lower-league fans, I didn't really have the choice! My father has supported us since the 1960s and there was simply no way his son was going to follow any other club. Having said that, I think I would probably have chosen to support them anyway. There's a personality and community feel to following your local club that gets increasingly difficult to replicate the further up the pyramid you go.

After promotion from League Two last year, the Cobblers' good form has continued into the League One campaign – are you riding the crest of a wave at the moment, or do you feel you can maintain this form until May, potentially securing back-to-back promotions?: Things are certainly going well at the moment, but I think first and foremost we have to establish ourselves as a League One club. In my time following the Cobblers, we haven't been able to stay in the third tier for more than three seasons. So we need to try and stop being a yo-yo club between the bottom two divisions.

So, really, staying up needs to be our first target. Having said that, so far we have shown that we are more than comfortable in this division and to be in a play-off position currently really is a fantastic start.

I don't think any Cobblers fan would say they have a right to expect us to be challenging for a play-off position, but the games we've seen so far suggest the squad have the ability to do it. If we can maintain our form then there's no reason why we can't go for another promotion.

But there's also a realisation that this is an incredibly tight league, so we shouldn't get too down-hearted if we do go through a rough patch. After last year, though, we're all very much happy to believe that anything can happen!

Millwall, meanwhile, are looking to get back on track after four straight league defeats. Do you feel the Lions could be a dangerous prospect on Saturday, given their recent record?: We don't have a particularly great record against Millwall but although you're not in the best of form it's a really tough and tight division.

We know we'll be in for a difficult game, particularly as your players will be desperate to end that poor run. But, the Cobblers make you work very hard to win against them. I hope your fans will understand that I'll be rooting for a fifth straight defeat for you guys – nothing personal!

Which Northampton players will Neil Harris' side have to watch out for? Likewise, what Millwall players do you feel will cause you the most problems?: On paper, you have players that can inflict damage, so I'm surprised to see Millwall have started pretty slowly. You look like you have a decent forward line having scored in the last 10 games, but the problem seems to be in defence.

Cobblers fans know all about Steve Morison and his ability, as he was one that very much slipped away from us after we released him as a youngster. He appears to be playing more of an impact-sub role for you. Gregg Wylde was a player that impressed me greatly whenever I saw him for Plymouth Argyle – he bagged a goal against us last year, so we know from our own experience that he's a threat.

I think with those two and Lee Gregory, we know you guys have goals in you, but similarly we know you'll be lacking in confidence in the back line. Only Southend have conceded more goals and we beat them 4-0 a few games ago, so we'll certainly be going out to attack and exploit what looks like a weakness.

Our main threat from that perspective is Alex Revell, who's made a really good start to his Cobblers career with six goals already in the league. He will cause your defence plenty of problems and can score any kind of goal. Most importantly, though, he simply does not stop running and won't give your back line a moment of rest.

We've also got a young lad called Jak McCourt in central midfield who loves a tackle. He breaks up play really well and is a great shield for our pretty stubborn defence, then uses the ball intelligently when he does get it. David Buchanan, our left back, is also a really solid defender and never seems to have a bad game. Even if there's a tricky or pacy winger up against him, he seems to come out on top.

Finally, a score prediction?: After a positive result with 10 men against league leaders Scunthorpe, coupled with Millwall's form, I'm hoping we can get a win here. Both teams seem to score more often than not, so it will be close. I'm going go for Northampton Town 2-1 Millwall.

Graphic: ©ShedCreative

Mark Litchfield