THE BIG MATCH

Top of the table Gillingham will go into an npower League 2 match off the back of a defeat for the first time this season as they visit Northampton Town on Tuesday night.

The Gills' first defeat of the season came on Saturday at home to Rochdale as goals from Andrew Tutte and Bobby Grant gave John Coleman's men a victory.

Martin Allen's men had to play 60 minutes with just 10 men, after Danny Jackman was dismissed, and he will therefore miss the trip to Sixfields to face his former club.

The boss is looking forward to seeing how his side react to the loss, telling Kent Online: "It is a test of all of us. A test of me, the staff, players and the supporters - all of us.

"It's going to keep going and along this 10-month competition, there are going to be setbacks.

"It is how you deal with the setbacks and how you deal with adversity. We have a big squad and a good squad and on Tuesday perhaps you might see something different."

The Cobblers have been slightly inconsistent so far this season and their latest result was a thrilling 3-3 draw against Burton Albion, which left them sitting 13th in the table on 13 points.

They are just one of three sides in npower League 2 who remain unbeaten on home soil, though, so will approach this game with a certain degree of confidence, whilst being wary of the threat that Gillingham pose.

Manager Aidy Boothroyd told www.ntfc.co.uk: "Nothing gets won at this time of year and Martin [Allen] will be the first person to admit that, but it does help if you have got a big squad, a strong squad.

"You look at where they were last year - they weren't that far away - they scored a lot of goals and were a very entertaining team, they've never had a problem in scoring and he has added to that. So they've got depth now and they are keeping clean sheets.

"They've won four away from home, they're a good team and they are up at the top for a reason so they will have to be given the respect that they have earned.

"But, at the same time, were not going into the game to just be also-rans, we're going in there because we think we have a chance of winning it."

KEEP AN EYE ON

It's the battle of last season's Blue Square Premier promoted clubs this evening as York City welcome Fleetwood Town to Bootham Crescent.

While Fleetwood ran away with the title last season, the Minstermen won their place back in The Football League via a 2-1 Play-Off Final success against Luton Town at Wembley.

They now go head-to-head in The League for the first time, with York currently sitting 12th on 13 points and the Cod Army lying third, with a 17-point tally.

Fleetwood boss Micky Mellon believes his side are prepared for the trip to Bootham Crescent - a place where his side were successful last term, winning 1-0.

"It's a tough week on the road but we are ready for it. We have a few bumps and bruises from Saturday but nothing to give too much concern. We should go over there with a clean bill of health and select a team to earn a result," the Scot commented on www.fleetwoodtownfc.com.

"You are always in for a stern test when going over there. Going over at this stage of the season will be no different. We'll do everything right in order to gain a favourable result.

"Their good start is no surprise to us. They are a good side and we will need to be at our best to collect anything. It's a game we are very much looking forward to."

Both sides picked up three points over the weekend with Mellon's winning 2-1 against Barnet and the Minstermen tasting victory with a 2-0 win away from home to Aldershot.

York manager Gary Mills has an almost fully fit squad to choose from and midfielder Jonathan Smith will be looking to being involved again after being rested for their match with the Shots.

Clarke Carlisle will also hope to be back in the picture, while Matty Blair will hope to retain his unfamiliar role in midfield after scoring on Saturday.

Mills told York Press: "Blairy [Matty Blair] needed the game because he's not played too many minutes but I thought he got his second wind in the second half [against Aldershot].

"He will get fitter and sharper the more games he has and we know how honest he is and that he will always pop up with goals."

ELSEWHERE IN THE DIVISION

Barnet remain rooted to the bottom of The Football League with just two points to their name so far and they welcome Exeter City to Underhill.

The Bees took the lead in the match against Fleetwood Town at the weekend through Jake Hyde but, after goalkeeper Graham Stack was dismissed, they eventually succumbed to a 2-1 defeat.

The Grecians will certainly provide stern opposition, having won three of their four away games, but they have lost their last two successive fixtures.

Wycombe Wanderers sit just two points, and one place, above Barnet in the table and they also have a home game, against Plymouth Argyle.

Gareth Ainsworth is in temporary charge of the Chairboys, following the recent dismissal of Gary Waddock, but the 39-year-old was unable to guide his side to victory at the weekend against Dagenham and Redbridge, as they lost 3-0. He will certainly be after a reaction in the game at Adams Park.

That win against Wycombe was the Daggers' first of the season and they will want to take that momentum forward against high-flying Port Vale, who beat Bradford City last time out. If John Still's men are to win, they will need to keep Vale hit man Tom Pope quiet - the striker has nine goals to his name already this term.

That loss for Bradford brought their run of three consecutive wins to an end but they will hope to bounce back against Rochdale at Spotland.

Elsewhere, two of the division's out-of-form sides meet at the Kassam Stadium as Oxford United host AFC Wimbledon.

The Yellows started the season with three consecutive wins but they have lost their last six matches, leaving them 17th. AFC Wimbledon, on the other hand, have won just once in eight - this match will be an interesting one.

Morecambe and Aldershot will also be hoping to end a run of defeats as they take on Chesterfield and Torquay United respectively.

Fourth-placed Accrington Stanley are back on home soil, against Rotherham United, after their away success against AFC Wimbledon last time out.

Also on Tuesday, Burton Albion travel to Essex to take on Southend United. The two sides currently sit just outside the Play-Off places, locked on 14 points, but Burton have the edge in the form table, having not lost in five.

Finally, on Wednesday, Bristol Rovers take on Cheltenham Town.

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