Curle calls on Cobblers players to shine on the big stage as they head to Bradford City

Cobblers boss Keith Curle
Cobblers boss Keith Curle

Keith Curle says the Cobblers have to try and turn Bradford City's 'demanding' support against the home team when they square up at Valley Parade on Saturday.

The Bantams are the biggest club in Sky Bet League Two and regularly attract crowds of 14,000-plus.

That support can obviously be a huge advantage, but Curle also believes it can be a hindrance if Bradford can be frustrated on the field, and that is what the Cobblers must try and do this weekend.

Asked about the trip to west Yorkshire, Curle said: "You have to enjoy these occasions, and Bradford City is a league one club in everything bar status.

"The have a good fanbase, a solid foundation, and a crowd that is very demanding and expects them to be competing at the top end of the division.

"As an outsider that is a challenge for us, but it can also be a challenge for them as well.

"They know the expectation, and they know that if they don't perform they are going to have 14, 15, 16, 17,000 people telling them they are not happy.

"What we have to do is make sure we make them play the game we want them to play, deal with their threats and then expose some of the weaknesses we think we have found in them.

"It is a well supported football club, which is full of expectations, and it will be a great environment for us to go and play.

"We have already mentioned to the players that they are going to be going into an environment that is going to be very partisan, very upbeat, and they are going to be demanding a result.

"So we are going in there knowing that we have to be very competitive in everything we do."

It has certainly not been the perfect start to the season for Gary Bowyer's men, who have failed to win any of their past three games, and have only won one of their four home matches in all competitions.

In the league at home they have already been held to a goalless draw by Cambridge United and been beaten 1-0 by Forest Green Rovers, and Curle says they are suffering similar problems to the Cobblers having had a busy summer in the transfer market following their relegation from league one in May.

"Bradford is a club that has probably done more business than us, and they will be going through some of the same teething problems that we are going through," said the Cobblers boss.

"I think they brought in 15 new players and it is not easy integrating all of those players, finding a system that works, getting the best out of the players and in the mean time getting results as well.

"They have used different formations, and they are perhaps suffering those slight teething probems that might take a few games, a few fixtures and a few results to bed in.

"It is not too dissimilar to ourselves, as we are still finding out about some of our players, still finding out and the formations and systems that suit us."

The Cobblers were 2-1 winners on their most recent trip to Bradford, with goals for John-Joe O'Toole and Chris Long sealing a Sky Bet League One win for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's team in January, 2018.