They were Capital One Cup first round giant-killers, beating last season’s runners-up Cardiff City, now npower League 2 Northampton Town are aiming to land a Second Round knock-out blow on a Wolverhampton Wanderers team who last year were in the Premier League and beat the Cobblers 4-0 at the same stage of the competition.
When the two teams square up again at Sixfields on Thursday evening, that heavy defeat from last term will count for nothing says Aidy Boothroyd, who led the Cobblers out of relegation danger after taking over as manager last December, while Wolves’ slide towards the drop cost boss Mick McCarthy his job.
So it will be Wolves new man Stale Solbakken in the opposite dug-out to Boothroyd and, as the Northampton boss noted: “It’s two different team line-ups as well as two different managers and it can be a very different game to last season, although we’ll obviously be the underdogs again.
“But we can go into the game with confidence after our win against Cardiff, who had a weakened team because of international call-ups but it was still a very tough game for us against a side who’ve been in the top six of the Championship for the last three or four years and have got to Wembley on two or three occasions as well.”
Northampton have never been near to a Wembley appearance in The Football League’s major cup competition – the quarter-final stage is the closest they have got – but in recent seasons they have distinguished themselves by knocking out higher ranked teams such as Bolton Wanderers, Reading, Liverpool and Ipswich Town.
And, after now beating Cardiff in what is an undefeated opening to the new campaign – in three League 2 matches as well as in the Capital One Cup – the Cobblers can indeed step out against Wolves in confident mood. “We want to build on the start we’ve made,” said Boothroyd, “and beating Wolves would be a massive boost.
“But we’ve got to approach the game with caution as well as confidence. Wolves are a really good team from two divisions above us and they’ll be expected to win the game. We’ve got a very healthy respect for them and we know that we’ll have to be at the very top of our game to give them a real testing.
“But we also know that another League 2 team, Aldershot, took them to extra time and penalties at Molineux in the last round. So we’ll try to expose any weaknesses we can find in their game and if we are at our best, and certainly if they take us lightly, we’ll have a chance of beating them – and that’s the aim.”