Cobblers' versatility could prompt Curle into switching systems

Cobblers boss Keith Curle will not necessarily stick with playing a three-man defence despite the recent success his side have enjoyed with the system.

Friday, 15th November 2019, 3:24 pm
Keith Curle

Town had largely been playing a variation of 4-2-3-1 up until their Sky Bet League Two encounter with Carlisle United at Brunton Park last month.

With the game goalless at half-time, Curle moved to three at the back, putting two men up front, and his decision to do so paid off handsomely.

Scott Pollock and Sam Hoskins scored in an excellent second-half performance before Curle stuck with 3-5-2 for the wins over Cambridge United and Chippenham Town, plus the frustrating 2-2 draw at Oldham.

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So, is it the way forward for the Cobblers? "No," said Curle. "I think the players understand and the changing room understands that I pick the team based on the merits that I've identified in the opposition.

"First and foremost, how I coach is to identify the opposition's strengths and nullify those strengths and then we go and play.

"It's my format that suits me and it gives the players a job and roles and responsibilities within the team framework.

"But the flip side of it is that I know we can hurt opposition teams - but we also need to be respectful.

"We've got a smaller squad this season but we've got good options and if I want to go to a back three or if I want to go to back four, I've got options to do that.

"If you go through the systems with the personnel available, I can play a number of systems that can do both things - stop the opposition and also go and score goals. That's pleasing."

But picking the right formation is only part of the challenge for Curle and his players, who must then go out and perform on the pitch.

"It doesn't just happen," added Curle. "The players have to turn up and the information we give them has to be spot on and we need to be competitive.

"As a group of players we're better when we get close to teams. When we get closer to the opposition, we make it difficult for them to play and then we earn the right to play because we can hurt teams with the goals we have in our side."