Crooks revels in attacking freedom given to him by boss Curle

Cobblers midfielder Matt Crooks
Cobblers midfielder Matt Crooks

Matt Crooks admits he is revelling in the freedom being awarded to him in the Cobblers team under new boss Keith Curle.

The midfielder scored a stunning hat-trick in Tuesday night’s 5-0 win at Macclesfield, with the player shining in a free attacking role.

The gaffer told me that I could drift, and although I was playing on the right, I could go where I want and have an impact in other areas of the pitch. That’s what I did and I enjoyed it

Cobblers midfielder Matt Crooks

Crooks was named on the right of midfield in the starting line-up, but he was given the licence to roam, with two of his goals coming from the player popping up on the left side of pitch.

A natural central midfielder, the former Accrington Stanley man has been utilised out wide before in his time at the Cobblers, but says the tweak Curle made at Moss Rose really suited him.

“The gaffer told me that I could drift, and although I was playing on the right, I could go where I want and have an impact in other areas of the pitch,” said Crooks, who will be aiming to shine again this weekend when the Cobblers entertain Oldham Athletic.

“That’s what I did and I enjoyed it.

“It’s a bit different for me. I hadn’t really played there before I came (to the Cobblers), but I have a licence to go into different areas - it’s not really a winger job, it’s moving about everywhere and I like doing that.”

Curle has had an impressive impact on the Cobblers’ fortunes since taking over from the sacked Dean Austin a month ago.

Town have won three, drawn two and lost just one of the former Carlisle United boss’s six games in charge, and Crooks believes the club and Curle are proving to be a good fit.

Asked about the effect the new boss is having, Crooks said: “He’s giving us a platform to play off and we did that.

“It’s just new ideas and a different way of playing.

“It’s suited us and we’ve got three wins so you can’t complain. Long may it continue.”

Crooks’ hat-trick at Macclesfield was an impressive one.

It was his first in professional football, with two long-range right-footed efforts added to a close-range poachers effort, but the player admits it wasn;t down to his pre-match warm-up!

“They were nice goals,” admitted the 24-year-old, who was signed from Rangers in the summer of 2017.

“We were practising in the warm-up and I missed every single one! But thankfully I saved them for the game.”