Northampton v Daggers PREVIEW
IT S been a tough time for Northampton this season since they resumed life in the basement division once more after a three-year hiatus in League One.
by MIKE SIMMONDS
IT'S been a tough time for Northampton this season since they resumed life in the basement division once more after a three-year hiatus in League One.
The Cobblers got off to a poor start, drawing with Macclesfield and losing at Chesterfield, while they were also knocked out of the Carling Cup by Southampton, without scoring a goal in any of their opening three matches.
Back-to-back wins over Accrington and Bournemouth briefly lifted the gloom, but another five-game losing run followed, which has been the story of the Cobblers season.
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It also signalled the end of manager Stuart Gray's two-and-half-year reign in charge, as the former Southampton boss was dismissed after the 3-1 home reverse to Barnet.
Former Cobblers legend Ian Sampson was appointed to the hot seat, after moving through the ranks as a youth team and first team coach.
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Sampson played 449 games for the club, the second most in their history, but his managerial stats aren't as impressive, with just five victories from his 20 games in charge.
In fact, a 4-2 win at Morecambe on October 24, which saw the side go six games unbeaten was the high point, as the Sixfields side have not won a league game since, a run spanning seven games.
Despite the team's poor form, striker Adebayo Akinfenwa is still enjoying a decent season, with nine goals to his name so far, while veteran forward Steve Guinan has also managed four.
One experienced face in the Cobblers line-up is expected to be former Manchester United defender John Curtis.
The 31-year-old can boast that he once came on for Jaap Stam in the European Super Cup Final in Monte Carlo, a match that the Red Devils lost 1-0 to Lazio.
Central defender Dean Beckwith played five games for the Daggers during the 2003/04 season after joining on loan from Gillingham, and scored in a 1-1 draw at Hereford.
He also managed an own goal during the 2-0 defeat at home to Burton, but did play in the 4-0 win over Margate and 4-1 Football League Trophy victory against Leyton Orient, in which former loanee Matt Lockwood also featured.
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