Boss Curle makes his case for the Cobblers defence
Seven games into the new Sky Bet League Two season, it’s fair to say the Cobblers are still very much a work-in-progress.
Players in all areas of the team have shown promise at times, and struggled at others, which is probably not a surprise when you consider the squad turnover in the summer.
A total of 15 new players have been brought in with 14 leaving, and that has led to inevitable teething problems, and nowhere more so than in defence.
Individually, the likes of Charlie Goode, Jordan Turnbull, Scott Wharton, David Turnbull, Shaun McWilliams and Joe Martin have all performed well, but as a collective, Town have managed to keep just one clean sheet all campaign - in the 1-0 win at Swindon Town last month.
But boss Keith Curle is confident things will soon be right on track.
“We want to build on clean sheets, and we want to get a number of clean sheets,” said the Cobblers boss.
“If you look at the personnel we have had, there have been changes within the back four or back five.
“There have been a number of players being bedded in, and on Saturday another new player came in in Michael Harriman (who played at right-back).
“Joe Martin also returned to first-team action, and they are all players that have joined the football club and are getting used to each other and getting that understanding.
“I think it will come, because for a large periods of the game against Plymouth I think we looked solid, and for large periods of the game at Bradford I thought we looked solid.”
The Cobblers were beaten at Bradford City on Saturday, a week after seeing off promotion favourites Plymouth Argyle at the PTS Academy Stadium.
It was a source of great frustration that Town failed to build on the Argyle result, but Curle is focusing on the positives as he prepares his team for Saturday’s clash with unbeaten Newport County (ko 3pm).
“If you have a look at the Plymouth and Bradford games, and if you had got a creditable point at Bradford, and it’s not disgraceful getting a point at home against Plymouth,” said the Cobblers boss.
“If we had done that we would have had two points from two difficult games and be pretty happy with that, well we have got three points from those games.
“The performance levels against Plymouth were very good, as they were for 55 minutes to an hour in the game at Bradford.
“So we just need to make sure we get that level of consistency, and that level of performance.
“We know that if we do that then results will go our way.”
Alan McCormack could be in line for his first appearance for the Cobblers since the opening day of the campaign this weekend.
The Irishman suffered a hamstring strain in the 1-0 defeat to Walsall on August 3 and hasn’t featured since.
He has been in full training for more than a week now, and is close to making a return to playing. Also back in training is Reece Hall-Johnson.