Bear with me on this, because next week fans will be probably calling him to be sacked but Keith Curle is developing into Cobblers’ loveable anti-hero. Granted, Northampton fans’ moods are up and down like the value of the pound but mysterious Curle has gained respect this week after back to back wins.
The play is still patchy but you’ve got to admire how Curle has doggedly turned the results around at Sixfields and got Cobblers heading up the league. On Saturday, against Newport, there were signs that Town were beginning to play some football and we came away with a decent win against a fancied County side. That good form continued into Tuesday night where Cobblers not only negotiated a Stevenage side fighting for their lives but the card happy instincts of Mr Toaster Pocket Charles Breakspear.
Rumour has it that Breakspear can reach for a red quicker than Mohammad Ali could switch on a light and be in bed and the infuriating whistler duly sent off Harry Smith. Breakspear has forgotten that referees are so named because they are supposed to be peripheral figures, there to be referred to in the case of a dispute and not centre-stage.
Cobblers target-man Smith got a goal and lasted a good 23 minutes and will be pleased that he managed to get a whiff of the ball before the Red Baron Breakspear smelt that sexy sniff of a dismissal.
But back to to Curle, the Adidas Gazelle wearing casual gaffer that barks at his players like a demented whippet from the touchline but gets the all important results. He’s working with the knowledge that his contract is up at the end of the season, trying to jam all the jigsaw pieces in place and placate a notoriously hard to please fan-base and doing ok.
Obviously back to back defeats could change everyone’s perceptions such is the nature of football but for now, Curle is Cobblers anti-hero. It would be heartbreaking for a guy who clearly lives and breathes the game to get the chop and go back to decorating his house wearing his panama hat forlornly.
Inconsistent possession still a worry
Wins over Plymouth and Newport suggest brighter times ahead for the Cobblers but the inconsistent possession stats in games are still a cause for concern. Town’s possession statistics are forming a pattern of good one week, poor the next. Against Newport, Northampton enjoyed 50% of possession but that dropped to just 40% v Stevenage. Even with Curle’s capability in game management these fluctuating possession statistics might bite Cobblers in the backside sooner rather than later and you wonder about Town’s ability to sustain top 6 football without the ball in certain games.