Keith Curle has set out how he wants and expects his Cobblers team to perform once they reach their full potential under his management, with a focus on being ‘hungry, aggressive and forward-thinking’.
Northampton have already made rapid progress in the month and a half Curle has been at the helm, losing just one of eight league games and moving all the way up from 21st to 14th in Sky Bet League Two.
They have also progressed to the knock-out stages of the Checkatrade Trophy, where they will next face Cambridge United, while pushing Lincoln City close in the first round of the FA Cup last weekend.
So far, Curle’s priority has been to concentrate on the basics and improve the team’s mentality, but the players are still at an early stage of ‘understanding’ of what he ultimately wants from them.
“The morale in the camp is excellent,” he said after Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Exeter City. “It’s something we work on because it’s not all about results - it’s about the demands we put on players individually throughout the week.
“The end result is the players being able to go out and perform on a Saturday. They look forward to games but the work ethic is in place through the week and we put simple demands on players and they’re still learning how I work, how I operate and what demands I have as minimums.
I want a hungry, aggressive, forward-thinking team that plays in the opposition’s final third with quality.
“Some things might seem so simple but there is a subliminal message on the little things that I demand from the players.
“They’re gaining a better understanding of what’s important and what creates the overall demeanour of the team that I want out on the pitch - I want a hungry, aggressive, forward-thinking team that plays in the opposition’s final third with quality.”
Town’s output from set-pieces has been the most obvious improvement over the last seven weeks with Curle keen to utilise their physical and aerial threat at both ends of the pitch, illustrated by Saturday’s last-gasp equaliser at St James Park.
“I think the goal shows that, when we do set-pieces, even people not in the starting XI understand the roles and responsibilities of the players that they come on in place of,” Curle said.
“We have good movement, we have good willingness and good desire to get on the end of it and we have good delivery to put the ball into areas that we think we can exploit, whether that be near post, middle of the goal or far post.
“Every team we play against, we try to find our their weakness and if it’s after 10 minutes or 95 minutes, we have good belief in what we’re doing. “