Cobblers boss Keith Curle playing a guessing game as he prepares for Cambridge United Trophy trip
Keith Curle admits he will have to play something of a guessing game as he prepares his players for Tuesday night's Leasing.com Trophy clash at Cambridge United (ko 7.30pm).
The match is Town's third and final match in the group stage of the competition, with Curle's men having lost to Peterborough United and claimed two points from their draw and subsequent penalty shootout win over Arsenal Under-21s.
But Cambridge United are only now launching their Trophy campaign, with the match against the Cobblers their first group game, and the Town boss admits he is unsure as to how Us boss Colin Calderwood is going to treat the competition.
"It is difficult to find out what the Cambridge mentality is," admitted Curle.
"They have got a decent-sized squad, so it could be an opportunity for their manager to give some of their players some match action, if he deems that right.
"Results-wise, Cambridge are probably in an area where they need a result as well, but because of the locality of the two teams, I think it will be a very competitive game no matter what players either manager decides to put out."
The Cobblers really need to win to realistically stand a chance of qualifying for the knockout stages.
They travelled to the Abbey Stadium in the group stage last season as well, claiming two points thanks to a penalty shootout bonus after the teams drew 1-1.
If they were to win against Cambridge, then the Cobblers would be on five points, meaning Cambridge would have to win their remaining group games against an already-qualified Posh and the Gunners youngsters to overhaul them.
"I think it will be hard-fought, as it was last season, and we are still in with a shout of qualifying," said Curle.
"Peterborough are virtually qualified now, so what are they going to do in their remaining game (against Cambridge)? Their selection could be varied.
"Then it could depend on how important Cambridge see progression in the competition as well."