Boss Curle hails 'phenomenal' Cobblers support as travelling army of 4,500 gears up for Derby trip
Boss Keith Curle has hailed the 'phenomenal' Cobblers support ahead of Tuesday night's big FA Cup fourth round replay date at Derby County (ko 7.45pm).
A travelling army of around 4,500 Town fans will make the trip up the M1 to see their side do battle with the Sky Bet Championship Rams, with a home date in the last 16 against Premier League giants Manchester United the tantalising prize for the winners.
It is an incredible following for a Sky Bet League Two club for a midweek fixture, and Curle admits he is mightily impressed.
A buzz has been building around the club since the turn of the year, with huge followings travelling for the FA Cup third round match at Burton Albion and the Sky Bet League Two trip to Salford, and close to 500 travelling to Leyton Orient and then to Macclesfield on Saturday.
Curle has been taken aback by the backing he and his team are getting, and says it is a wave of support he wants to see getting bigger and bigger as the season rolls on.
"I think it is phenomenal," said the Cobblers boss, when asked about the numbers travelling to support the team at Pride Park.
"It is a case of creating that wave, and getting people on that wave, and the more people we can get on it, then the bigger wave gets and we just have to ride it out."
As a player, Curle played for some big clubs in the form of Manchester City, Sheffield United and Wolverhampton Wanderers so knows all about big support, but as a manager it has been all about the lower leagues.
So does what seems to be stirring at the Cobblers excite him?
"The jobs I have had, normally I get a job when a team hasn't been doing well and you have to turn it around and take it on a journey," said Curle, who took over at the PTS with Town in relegation trouble in league two.
"And I can honestly say, that is not easy.
"I would love to be given a job, or be offered a job, at a club where somebody has left to go and better themselves because they have been doing so well in that job, and that would be a different kind of challenge to walk into.
"But I enjoy maximising where a football club can go, and I think this football club can go on a journey."
Town are currently flying his and on a nine-match unbeaten run.
They have won six of those matches, and are sitting fifth in the league two table, just two points off the top three and seven off leaders Swindon Town, with a game in hand - and the Robins travel to the PTS next Tuesday night.
Things are looking good and momentum is building, but it has not always been this way for Curle, who has had to put up with his fair share of criticism from the supporters during his time at the club, and the manager was quick to recall one incident in particular.
"I remember playing Morecambe away, and a disgruntled fan came up to me who was not happy," said Curle, who had seen his side throw away a 2-0 late on to draw 2-2 at the Globe Arena.
"I invited him into my office, and said 'look, this is our plan, this is what we are trying to do'.
"The pleasing thing is that I have been told that he has come back, and he has been present at some games, and hopefully he has seen what we are trying to develop.
"There hasn't been a lot of players brought in, we haven't changed infrastructure of what we want to do and what we want to create, that has been set in stone from as soon as myself and the coaching staff walked in.
"Sometimes things do take time to materialise, but we are seeing signs of what we want to do."
Tickets are still available for the match at Pride Park, with supporters able to pay on arrival at the ground on Tuesday.
Prices: Adult £15; Senior (aged 65+) £10; Young adult (18-21) £10; Youth (13-17) £5; Child (2-12) FREE. Any child aged 13 and under must be accompanied by someone aged 18 or above and children aged under two years will not be permitted entry to the stadium.