Curle admits he faces a challenge to manage his 'very competitive' squad
New signings and fit-again players give Curle plenty of headaches
Keith Curle admits he's going to face some very tough selection decisions over the final weeks and months of the season.
With Cobblers out of the FA Cup, their sole focus is on the league and that means less opportunity for Curle to rotate over the final 16 games of the season.
The team has picked itself to an extent in recent weeks due to injuries and players being ineligible for the FA Cup but now Curle is spoilt for choice in a variety of positions across the pitch.
Jordan Turnbull is close to full fitness, Alan McCormack and James Olayinka are not far away while the three other January signings, Mark Marshall, Callum Morton and Lloyd Jones, are also in the frame.
"I think we're going into a stage now where a different management technique will be needed because it's about managing that changing room and we do have a very, very competitive squad now," admitted Curle.
"There will be players that are not in the starting team and sometimes not even making the 18 but it's not ignored, it's respected.
"What we're trying to do is have a culture where it's an honest environment and if players feel they should be playing more, they come and see me and I give them the honest truth as to why they're not playing.
"Sometimes it can be technical or tactical, sometimes it can be because other players are playing well and sometimes it's players not doing enough for me to warrant a starting place.
"There are also times when I need to change it because I've seen an opportunity against whoever we're playing to change things.
"But the thing is it's the honesty within our environment and it's down to man management and now I need to make sure there's a focus and that focus isn't on the starting XI or the substitutes, sometimes the most important people are the ones that haven't made the matchday squad.
"They could be in the squad the following week and they could even be starting and that's because of their quality."