Curle 'building trust' with fans as Cobblers make it six of the best at home - verdict, reaction and highlights
It was perhaps no surprise that the Cobblers went for the direct approach against Forest Green Rovers on Saturday but few expected manager Keith Curle to so freely admit that fact in his post-match interview.
Curle set up his team to win and win they did so anything he said was fully justified. Lose and the naysayers may have been out in force but while it took a scrappy goal to win a scrappy game, this was another demonstration of Cobblers' promotion credentials.
Yes, they needed a touch of fortune - three times Rovers hit the woodwork - and yes, they came under heavy pressure at times, particularly in the second-half, but this is a game the Cobblers wouldn't have won just a couple of months ago. Remember all those late goals?
Now they have new-found resilience and resolve and are proving a very hard team to beat. Forest Green by no means played poorly here and they tried their best to unlock Town but the back three, led by captain Charlie Goode, had no intention of giving up another clean sheet.
Cobblers' record at the PTS has been average at best over the last couple of seasons but they now own the best home record of anyone in League Two after making it six straight wins on Saturday.
"Our home form is not only through our performances but also the supporters are playing their part," said Curle afterwards.
"There's a belief and a noise from the stands and I think that's helping to inspire the players. It gives them that an extra yard and extra belief and that's fantastic.
"The supporters are now developing a bond with the players and that's vital at a football club because you want to be recognised and you want that association and you want to be praised from fans and we're getting that now.
"My relationship with the supporters is building and I'm building that trust."
Saturday's win was not of the free-flowing variety - rather, it belonged in the 'take the points and run' category - but promotion challenges are as much about the ugly wins as they are about the convincing ones, if not more.
Cobblers needed luck to be on their side and for the back three to be at their best but another set-piece, predictably delivered by Nicky Adams, proved the difference, though the dubious goals committee may leave Sam Hoskins disappointed no matter how hard he tries to claim it.
"We knew we'd have to dig deep in this game," added Curle. "We did a lot of work on them and we gave the players a lot of information.
"Some people can see it as a negative when we speak a lot about the other team's strengths and how we can nullify them but that's the foundation of what we do.
"We show the opposition respect, we come up with a gameplan and we had to turn the game into a scruffy game.
"That's not saying we can't compete with them playing football but we want to win games - it's not about collecting data about pass completions and final third entries. It's about winning."