Curle allays fears over McCormack's fitness after early substitution at Mansfield
Keith Curle has played down fears over the fitness of Alan McCormack and says he's hopeful of having a fully-fit squad to pick from when the Cobblers go to Crawley Town on Boxing Day.
McCormack was starting his first game since going off injured at Exeter City but only lasted 63 minutes when he was replaced by Andy Williams.
Curle revealed afterwards that it was part of the plan, however, and says he will continue to take great care with the midfielder during the rush of fixtures over Christmas.
"That was always the plan because he hasn't been able to train fully to the standards that he would like," said Curle.
"He's had limited training time and limited time on the grass so it was a plan before the game because I spoke to Alan on Friday and said I needed an hour out of him.
"It's player welfare. I know what I can get out of Alan and I need that week in, week out because the more games I can have Alan McCormack on the team sheet, the more impact he will have.
"Now we go back to where we were a few weeks ago because we need to build up that game-time again so he'll play a couple of matches for an hour and then we go to 75 minutes, 80 and then 90.
"We'll maintain that time on the training pitch and the more time he has there, he'll earn the time he plays and he'll build it back up."
Chris Lines missed out at Field Mill after struggling with illness during the week but Curle is hopeful he'll have everyone fit when the Cobblers go to Crawley.
He added: "Alan should be available on Boxing Day and I don't think we picked up any injuries from a very competitive match on Saturday so we have a clean bill of health."