Meet the opposition | Northampton Town
As Steve Cooper’s Swans prepare to take on Northampton Town in the Carabao Cup, we take a closer look at the Cobblers.
What’s their story?
Northampton are currently in their second season in League Two, having been relegated to the fourth tier at the end of the 2017-18 season.
Formed in 1897 and admitted to the Football League in 1920, the Cobblers enjoyed their sole season in the top flight during the 1965-66 campaign but had dropped all the way down to the Fourth Division by the end of the decade.
In fact, they hold the record for the quickest rise and fall from the fourth tier to the top flight and back again, with their journey up and down the divisions taking just nine years.
They have spent every season since in either the third or fourth tier, although Swans fans will not need reminding of their 1997 Wembley success against Jan Molby’s side in the old Third Division play-off final. John Frain breaking Swansea hearts with a last-gasp free-kick.
How’s their form?
Northampton started the season with a narrow home defeat to Walsall, having finished 15th in League Two last term.
Last season they had some strong sequences of results but were unable to put them together with enough regularity to challenge higher up the table.
They won just once from their first 12 league fixtures, but responded by winning six of their next seven in all competitions.
However, that form fell away over Christmas and New Year and Northampton ended up being grateful for a four-match winning streak in February and March which kept them well clear of the relegation scrap as they ended the campaign with just three defeats from their last 13 games.
Who’s the boss?
Keith Curle. The former England defender has been at the helm since the summer of 2018, taking up the reins after leaving Carlisle.
The ex-centre-back played for the likes of Wimbledon, Manchester City, Wolves and Sheffield United during a 24-year playing career, and he was won three caps for his country including an appearance at Euro 92.
He first moved into management as player boss at Mansfield, and had stints as manager at Chester and Torquay before working under Neil Warnock at QPR and Crystal Palace.
He took the number one role again at Notts County in 2012, and he created history by leading the club on their record unbeaten away run of 22 games.
He left Meadow Lane in 2013, and took over at Carlisle a year later and went on to spend three-and-a-half years in Cumbria, leading them to the play-offs in 2017.
Curle took charge at Northampton at the start of the 2018-19 season.
Who are the key men?
Former Swans keeper David Cornell is between the sticks for the Cobblers and has retained his place at the start of the new campaign.
Former Doncaster forward Andy Williams led the scoring charts last season with a dozen goals to his name , while Curle will be hoping new signings Harry Smith and Matt Warburton can chip in with their share following their summer arrivals.
There has been change at the back too, with full-backs Reece Hall-Johnson and Joe Martin arriving from Grimsby and Stevenage respectively, while centre-back Charlie Goode is another new arrival having joined from Scunthorpe for an undisclosed fee.