THEY may be separated by 120 miles, but Town and Northampton find themselves in strikingly similar situations going into tommorrow's clash at the Galpharm (3.00).
Not only are they alongside each other in League I - Peter Jackson's team are 17th and John Gorman's Cobblers 18th, two points adrift but with a game in hand.
But both are aiming to end lengthy spells without a win, both are finding it tough to earn points at home, and both bosses have come under fire from the fans as they aim to conjure success within the constraints of a tight budget.
While Town are seeking a first win in eight in all competitions, and a first home success since Carlisle were beaten 2-1 in mid-October, Gorman, who ironically spent the bulk of his playing career with the Cumbrian club, is after a first victory in seven.
The Cobblers have the advantage of a more than decent away record, with 17 out of 23 points coming on their travels.
Their only loss in 10 away league games was 1-0 at second placed Scunthorpe a month ago, although they did come an FA Cup second-round cropper at Barnet, who won 4-1.
Since then, Gorman's side have ground out a goalless draw at Chesterfield, then suffered a 2-0 defeat to Doncaster, their sixth loss in 10 league games at Sixfields.
Just as Jackson ran the gauntlet during the 3-0 defeat by Oldham in Town's last home outing on November 25, Gorman, the former Swindon and Wycombe boss who was England No2 to Glenn Hoddle, came under fire as he watched from the dug-out against Doncaster.
"At the moment, the fans here don't like me," said the man who was unable to keep hold of former Town frontman Martin Smith after his appointment this Summer (the striker joined Darlington).
"I always seem to have been liked at other clubs and I've come in with a fresh attitude.
"But unless you produce wins then the fans don't really take to you and I'm not exactly the bees' knees, am I?
"We seem to be a bit more confident away and maybe that's because of expectations at home and people getting a bit of a complex about it all."
At least Gorman, who took over the promoted side from Nottingham-Forest bound Colin Calderwood, has the support of chairman Dale Cardoza, who said: "I have got every confidence in John and the team we have got here."
Town (from): Glennon, Holdsworth, Adams, McCombe, Mirfin, Hardy, Hudson, Collins, Worthington, Taylor-Fletcher, Schofield, Young, Ahmed, Booth, Beckett, McAliskey, Hand, Rachubka.
Northampton (from): Bunn, Crowe, Chambers, Doig, Holt, Wright, Burnell, Jess, Bojic, McGleish, Kirk, Gilligan, Taylor, Hunt, Dunn, Quinn, Dyche.
Ref: Clive Oliver (Northumberland).