Boss Curle expects more interest in Cobblers players

David Cornell at full stretchDavid Cornell at full stretch
David Cornell at full stretch
Cobblers boss Keith Curle says he would not be surprised should more of his players be linked with a move away from the club following speculation surrounding the future of David Cornell.

The goalkeeper, reportedly a transfer target for Reading in the summer, was linked to League One Ipswich Town last week, as well as Championship clubs Middlesbrough and Preston North End.

The January transfer window opens in three weeks but Curle does not mind if clubs are sniffing around his in-form players because it shows they must be doing something right.

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“It wouldn’t surprise me if there were lots of clubs looking at lots of our players and I think that’s a good sign,” said the Town manager.

“We’re not scared of it and we don’t deter it. If clubs come in and show an interest directly to myself, I speak to the football club to make sure they’re aware of it and then the first person I speak to is the player.

“I don’t hide away from it and I don’t shy away from it.

“If you’re doing well as a player and you’re playing in League Two, teams from higher divisions are going to come looking at you and that’s how you progress.”

Curle can speak from personal experience following his highly successful career as a player.

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The 56-year-old started out in the old Third Division with Bristol Rovers before working his way to the top, at one point becoming Manchester City’s record signing when he left AFC Wimbledon for £2.5million.

Curle, a centre-back in his playing days, also made over 150 appearances for Wolverhampton Wanderers and won three caps with England.

He added: “It’s down the player – can they handle that interest?

“It happened to me and I was lucky enough to play my way through every division and there was lots of speculation along the way about other people being interested.

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“For me personally, it made me play better but I still focused on the simple things and that’s what we want to do now.”

After making only 22 appearances across his first two seasons at the club, Cornell has established himself as Northampton’s number one goalkeeper over the last couple of campaigns, starting 65 of their last 66 league games.

The 28-year-old, who’s out of contract next summer, was also linked to Reading in the summer and has recorded seven clean sheets in 19 starts this season – the only League Two goalkeeper to have more is Newport’s Tom King – in helping the Cobblers move up the table and into the play-off positions.

Curle has strong back-up options in Steve Arnold and Andrew Fisher but he’ll be keen to keep hold of Cornell, who joined the Cobblers on a free transfer in 2016.

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“Dai Cornell has plenty of clean sheets this season and people are going to look at him,” accepted Curle.

“But for players who are playing well, there’s a reason why they’re playing well and why they’re getting interest in them – it’s about maintaining those high standards and doing the simple things very well.

“If you do that you’ll get more notice and more credibility and a better name for yourself so we encourage it.

“But first and foremost we encourage the players to get a good understanding of how we can make them look good players.”