Curle and scouts did their homework before bringing teacher Warburton to the Cobblers

New Cobblers signing Matty Warburton (Picture: Pete Norton)
New Cobblers signing Matty Warburton (Picture: Pete Norton)

Cobblers boss Keith Curle has been explaining the scouting process that led to the signing of Matty Warburton from Stockport County.

The 27-year-old has yet to play professional football, but has been a prolific goalscorer at National League North level for a few years now.

In the calendar year of 2018 Warburton scored 40 goals, and in the season that has just ended he netted 27 times in all competitions as the Hatters claimed promotion back to the National League.

It is unusual for a player who has never been signed to a professional club to enter Football League life so late, and could be seen as a bit of a gamble by the Cobblers.

But Curle says he and his scouting team really did their homework ahead of offering the PE teacher a route into the professional game.

Curle, chief scout Simon Tracey and other club scouts all watched Warburton on numerous occasions, and the player obviously impressed.

But asked how Warburton initially came to his attention, Curle said: “We looked through goalscorers.

“We are attracted by goalscorers, and then we identify the level they are playing at.

“Simon has been to watch him three times, I have been to watch him three times, and we have had the scouts watching him.

“We have been getting match reports on him because we like to do our work.

“We have seen the different variations of opposition he has been playing against, but ultimately the lad is a goalscorer, and he will score goals.”

So the Cobblers have been tracking Warburton for a while now, but the player himself says he wasn’t aware of the interest until talks between the club and his agent were fairly well down the line.

“With the relationship I have with my agent, I tell him not to tell me when clubs are coming to watch me,” said Warburton, who rejected the offer of a new deal to stay part-time at Stockport.

“It’s not something I need to know unless there is concrete interest, but I believe Northampton have been watching for a fair amount of time.

“I know they have a number of reports on me, but when it started to become a little bit more concrete, and there was sound information coming to me from the club via my agent, then it was increasingly difficult to turn down.”

Was he aware of interest from any other clubs?

“With the season I have had, without being arrogant at all, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were one or two others,” he said.

“But this was the one I really wanted to pursue.”