The big preview: Northampton Town aim for League Two glory at empty Wembley

The Northampton Town and Exeter City club badges. Credit: PA/ITV News

When Northampton Town and Exeter City take to the hallowed Wembley turf on Monday evening, they will do so without any fans in the stands, but with no shortage of motivation.

For the winners, they will be able to look forward to trips to Sunderland and Ipswich Town next season, but the losers will have to plan for another campaign in the fourth tier.

It's bound to be a surreal occasion with 90,000 empty seats at the national stadium, but that shouldn't make the celebration any less memorable for the team who come out on top...

  • What have the managers had to say?

Northampton Town manager Keith Curle and Exeter City boss Matt Taylor. Credit: PA

Northampton Town manager Keith Curle wants his players to have "clear heads" when they arrive at Wembley on Monday.

Emotions will be running high in a game of such magnitude, but Curle believes keeping calm and collected could be the key to victory.

The first job on Monday is to make sure the players have clear heads. There is a game of football to be played and we all have our jobs to do and our responsibilities.

Keith Curle, Northampton Town manager

Once again, the Cobblers won't have the backing of their fans in the stadium, but Curle knows they will be with his team in spirit.

"No matter how many times you have been to Wembley it is a special place to play. We will go there and embrace things after the game, but we will be going there to win a game of football," he said.

"Everybody understands we want our supporters with us. That won't be possible on Monday, but they will be with us in spirit, we know that."

Exeter boss Matt Taylor is promising to take the game to the Cobblers and doesn't want his players to have any regrets come the final whistle.

He said: "I certainly don’t want to come away from Wembley with any regrets whatsoever and the players are in the same mindset. We are going to go and attack this game of football. And, hopefully, it is a good spectacle for both sets of fans and I’m sure it will be an exciting day.”

  • Previous meetings

Northampton Town's PTS Academy Stadium. Credit: PA

Both clubs won one game each in the regular League Two season, with home advantage proving to be pivotal.

Northampton won the most recent meeting at the PTS Academy Stadium in February, with Vadaine Oliver and Sam Hosins getting the goals.

The victory ended a four-game losing streak for the Cobblers at the time and gave them the impetus they needed to go on to secure a play-off spot - albeit via the PPG method in the end.

Exeter won the reverse fixture back in December in an entertaining game at St James Park.

On that occasion, the Grecians ran out 3-2 winners with Charlie Goode and Sam Hoskins getting on the scoresheet for the Cobblers.

  • Players to watch

Northampton Town's Callum Morton and Exeter City's Randell Williams. Credit: PA

West Brom loanee Callum Morton has been a revelation since joining Northampton in January, scoring seven goals in 11 games.

His brace in the semi-final second leg at Cheltenham booked the Cobblers' place at Wembley, and he's impressed many with his cool finishing and tireless forward play.

Exeter's Randell Williams is another who's made a big impact in League Two this season, notching the most assists in the division.

The winger has reportedly attracted interest from Championship clubs and Exeter could have a battle to keep hold of him this summer - regardless of Monday's result.

  • Who are the favourites?

Exeter City's Ryan Bowman. Credit: PA

The bookies have Exeter down as the slight favourites, although most can hardly separate the two sides.

Exeter finished fifth in the regular season under the PPG method, two places above Northampton, but the Cobblers have already beaten the top-ranked team in the play-offs (Cheltenham) to reach the final.

Another interesting thing to consider is that Exeter have lost two of the last three League Two play-off finals.

Whether than unwanted record will spur them or haunt them remains to be seen, but you can be certain the Cobblers will be doing everything within their power to ensure it's the latter...

Northampton Town v Exeter City, League Two play-off final, Monday 29 June, 7.30pm