Having been promoted, via the play offs, last season The Cobblers find themselves on the way back down to League Two agains along with Rovers, Swindon Town and Richdale.
Like Rovers, Northampton can also claim to have won the Southern League title; they were winners in 1908/09. They, too, were founder members of the Third Division of the Football League in 1920/21 and Rovers won both games in that first campaign, with a 2-1 away win on 12th March 1921 and a 4-2 home win a week later.
Of the 94 league meetings so far, Rovers have won 31, there have been 28 draws and Northampton have won 35.
Last season’s league meetings saw Rovers beat Northampton 2-0 at The Mem last October, when Town’s former Rovers defender Joe Martin was red carded, while the sides played out a 1-1 draw at Sixfields in April of this year.
The sides met in the FA Cup in their Southern League days, in 1907/08 and 1919/20 and since that inaugural Football League season there have been four further meetings in that competition, the last being in 1973/74 when Rovers were 2-1 away winners at Northampton’s former home, the County Ground.
As far as the League Cup is concerned, the clubs have been drawn together just once, and The Cobblers won both legs of the second round tie, 2-1 at Eastville and 3-1 at the County Ground.
The two meetings in the Trophy has seen one Rovers wins and one draw. Don’t mention the play offs, though! In 1997/98 Rovers beat The Cobblers 3-1 in the first leg of the Division Two play off semi final at The Mem, only to lose 3-0 in the second leg and 4-3 on aggregate.
Northampton’s promotion from League One at the end of the 2019/20 season came with a former Rovers player, Keith Curle, in charge and three former Rovers players in their squad, namely Chris Lines, Andy Williams and Joe Martin.
Ian Atkins is the only manager to have been in charge of both clubs, while there have been many players who have turned out for both clubs.
In addition to those already mentioned, we can add; Julian Alsop, Billy Bodin, Cian Bolger, Chris Carruthers, Hiram Boateng, Guy Branston, Richard Dryden, Jamie Forrester, Carl Heggs, Shane Higgs, Craig Hinton, James Hunt, Bobby Jones, Daniel Jones, Christian McClean, Damien Matthew, Lee Maddison, Josh Low, Mark Little, Scott McGleish, Kaid Mohamed, Lee Nicholls, John-Joe O’Toole, Dave Savage, Adam Smith, John Taylor, Robert Wolleaston, Richard Walker and Paul Trollope.
In addition, current Rovers head of Academy, Chris Hargreaves, appeared in 151 league games for The Cobblers. Former Rovers manager Paul Tisdale and former Rovers assistant manager Garry Thompson both played for Northampton.
Last season two players, Jack Baldwin and Luke McCormick, made their Rovers league debuts against Northampton.
Worst moment following Rovers against Northampton has to be the second leg of the aforementioned play off semi final back in 1998, but there have been a couple of great results against Northampton in more recent times.
Rovers were 5-0 winners against The Cobblers at The Mem in January 2017, when Ellis Harrison scored four goals, including a first half hat trick, and 6-0 winners at Sixfields in October that same year. Oh, for a couple of results like that next season!
From the Memorial to Sixfields Stadium it’s 110 miles.