Cobblers boss Curle hails 'professional approach' to playing return of key man McCormack
Keith Curle believes Alan McCormack and the Cobblers are benefitting from the 'professional approach' to the player's return from a hamstring injury.
The Irishman completed his first 90 minutes of the season on Saturday as Town saw off Grimsby Town 2-0 at the PTS Academy Stadium.
It has been a long road back to full fitness for the former Luton Town man, who pulled a hamstring during the 1-0 defeat to Walsall on the opening day of the season back on August 3.
The 35-year-old was sidelined for two months, before returning as a substitute in the 1-0 loss to Leyton Orient on October 5.
After a clutch of substitute appearances he was back in the starting line-up for the 2-0 win over Salford City on October 19, and has proved to be the crucial cog in the machine as the Cobblers have gone on their current seven-match unbeaten run.
But his return has been carefully managed, with his game time being gradually increased until he managed the full game against the Mariners, and Curle is now hoping that can be a regular occurrence.
"It has been a while with Alan, but we have stuck to a programme with him regarding his minutes, to get him up to the level we want," said the Cobblers boss.
"That is not just surviving 90 minutes, but fully participating in the game for 90 minutes.
"I think on Saturday there were only three or four minutes left, Grimsby have had a break and Alan was there closing them down, and that's what we want.
"We don't just want him just to be out there, if you are out there then you have got to be able to perform.
"It has been a professional approach for the player's welfare."
This weekend is set to be a big one for McCormack, who is set to make his 500th career appearance in the FA Cup second round clash with Notts County at the PTS Academy Stadium on Sunday (ko 2pm).