Arnold's return to action gives Curle a conundrum between the sticks
Steve Arnold's long-awaited return to competitive action has given manager Keith Curle a conundrum between the sticks with three goalkeepers battling it out for the shirt.
Arnold, a summer signing from Shrewsbury Town, had been out of action since the second game of the season when he damaged his hamstring against Port Vale.
But the 30-year-old was back in the team for Sunday's FA Cup tie at Chippenham Town and kept his first clean sheet for the Cobblers in a 3-0 victory.
"Steve Arnold was excellent and as important as it is for strikers to hit the back of the net, it's also important for goalkeepers to come in, put in a performance, make saves when needed and keep a clean sheet," said Curle.
"That gives them confidence and he's been banging on my door because he wants to be involved.
"Andy Fisher has come in and done exceptionally well also and Steve's been fit for a couple of weeks but not been involved in the squad.
"When you have a 6ft 4in giant knocking on your door asking why they're not involved, I tell Westy to tell him I'm not in!
"But Steve knows I need to get him minutes. We've been struggling to arrange reserve games so he hasn't had many opportunities but Sunday was a chance to play a competitive game."
First-choice stopper David Cornell has done little wrong in Arnold's absence and will be confident of keeping the gloves in the coming weeks.
Curle added: "That's why we bought Steve Arnold to the club - because we want direct competition for Dai and Dai knows he needs to be performing.
"To be the number one choice, that goalkeeper has got to work harder than the number two but if you're number two and you want to be number one, you also have to work harder.
"That's the type of competition that we've created and I know I've got three very good goalkeepers available for selection now."