Plymouth Argyle defender Anthony Charles knows all about the threat of promotion-chasing Northampton
FOR THE second time in his short Argyle career, defender Anthony Charles is set to play against one of his former clubs tomorrow.
Charles signed for the Pilgrims in the middle of last month after he had his contract at Northampton Town cancelled by mutual consent.
Now, five weeks later, the 31-year-old is returning to Sixfields Stadium as part of an Argyle squad who are desperate to pick up points in their fight against relegation.
Charles will hope for a similar outlook to when the Pilgrims played their last away game, which was against another of his former clubs, Aldershot Town.
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They beat Aldershot 2-1 on February 9 to record only their third away win in League Two this season.
Charles made 10 starts and one substitute appearance for Northampton earlier this season.
The 31-year-old,who has played five times for the Pilgrims, is not bothered about taking on the promotion-chasing Cobblers so soon after leaving them.
Charles told Herald Sport: "It's just the way the fixture list is. It's a game we have to prepare for, and I have to prepare for, in the right manner.
"I'm looking forward to going back. I still speak to a number of the players there. For me, it was a real good place.
"They have a great set of lads and I think that's probably reflecting in how well they are doing on the pitch. I don't have a bad word to say about anybody there."
Northampton are in sixth spot in League Two after a 1-1 draw at bottom-of-the-table AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday.
They have struggled for results on the road, but Northampton are a formidable force at Sixfields Stadium, with a record on 11 wins, two draws and three defeats from their 16 home games.
Charles said: "They are probably one of the strongest teams in the league.
"Away from home, results don't really go their way, but it's going to be a very difficult game for us when we go there.
"We have to be focused from the off. Teams have gone there – not many, I know – and got results. Hopefully we can be in that small number by putting in a very good performance."
Northampton have a lot of attacking options but 16-goal striker Adebayo Akinfenwa is usually their main threat.
Charles has a lot of respect for the 30-year-old, not only after playing in the same side as him but also having marked him in training as well.
"Physically, he's probably the strongest player there is," said Charles. "If he gets the ball there is no fighting him because you are not going to get it off him.
"One, you have to stop the ball getting to him and, two, you have to try to make sure you are not too tight on him. The best thing to do is keep him out of the box."
Argyle and Northampton both flirted with relegation from League Two last season but, ultimately, were successful in staying up.
They fought out a tense 0-0 draw at Sixfields Stadium last March, when Charles played at left-back for the Cobblers.
While Argyle have again struggled this season, Northampton have built an experienced squad which is challenging for promotion.
Charles said: "The team has moved on from last year. They have got two big men up front in Clive Platt and Bayo, and (winger) Chris Hackett is very direct in what he does and causes problems.
"It's not just that. There are going to be numerous things we are going to have to focus on for the day.
"But we can't get too distracted because we have our own way of playing and we need to make sure we do that.
"They (Northampton) are the home team and with where they are in the table, they are going to be favourites. You would probably expect them to come out all guns blazing in the first five or 10 minutes.
"We need to make sure we keep their fans quiet, and that means us starting well."