Gloucester City are the visitors to St James Park on Monday 28 December.

With Saints’ Boxing Day game at Kettering off due to a water-logged pitch, Gloucester come into Monday’s game leading the division having entertained Leamington.

The Tigers have moved into their new ground, the new Meadow Park, changed manager and just about most of their playing squad and are riding high.  A wobble of two defeats and a draw has been steadied as Paul Groves came in following James Rowe’s departure to Chesterfield.  But they will go into 2021 top of the tree and as top scorers.

The new stadium with AGP surface hosted its first game in September and heralds the return of The Tigers to their home city after 13 years absence during which time they have been tenants at Cheltenham Town, Forest Green Rovers, Cirencester Town and latterly Evesham United.   

The new stadium, on the site of the previous Meadow Park inundated in 2007, is designed with extensive flood defences and is built 3m higher than the original as protection against the flood waters of the River Severn.

Kevin Wilkin’s side put in a spirited performance last time out at National League Chesterfield, ironically now managed by Rowe, but bowed out of the FA Trophy in a dramatic, extended penalty shoot-out last Saturday.  Visitors Gloucester are still in the Trophy following a 7-1 thumping of Step 4 Maldon and Tiptree.

With games in hand over all sides above us apart from York City, Saints have every opportunity to make up ground lost in the injury-plagued early stages of the season and Monday’s game will provide both a great test and that opportunity for 3 vital points in what has the makings of an exciting race for the top in the second half of the season.

With Northamptonshire having moved into Covid Tier 3 since midnight on Boxing Day, Monday’s game is Behind Closed Doors with no entry for spectators.  The game is being live-streamed with match passes available from the website priced at just £4.99.