Curle confirms Mitchell was dropped but he expects his 'fantastic goalkeeper' to bounce back

Jonathan MitchellJonathan Mitchell
Jonathan Mitchell
Arnold got the nod for visit of Fleetwood

Keith Curle expects goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell to bounce back stronger than ever after the Derby County loanee was dropped from the team that faced Fleetwood Town on Tuesday.

Steve Arnold started the season in goal but he was taken out of the side after a disappointing display at Plymouth Argyle. Mitchell then came in and did a good job, starting 10 games in a row across all competitions.

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However, Curle was critical of the 26-year-old for his part in the goals Town conceded at both Burton and Rochdale. As a result, Mitchell had to make do with a place on the bench on Tuesday evening as Arnold returned with his first league clean sheet of the season.

"Mitch is a fantastic goalkeeper and he's learning his trade all the time and he's learning about the demands that I put on goalkeepers," said Curle.

"He'll be disappointed with the goal at Rochdale and I was disappointed with the goal but it's part of his learning. He's a very, very good goalkeeper but he's got competition from Steve Arnold.

"It's excellent for the football club to have two goalkeepers like that competing for their place in the team. Their attitude and their mentality to their work, as goalkeepers, has been excellent.

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"They're very supportive of each other and I think that's vitally important. When one's not playing, he is pushing the other one because he wants to play and that's what we wanted to focus on in our recruitment.

"We didn't want an experienced goalkeeper and a young lad. We wanted two goalkeepers that were competing for the number one jersey."

Arnold was only forced into one serious save by Fleetwood when keeping out Ched Evans' free-kick. Otherwise, he was superbly protected by his defenders as Cobblers ground out a hard-earned 1-0 victory.

"I think Cian Bolger deserves credit because he marshalled our defence very, very well," Curle added. "Him, Fraser Horsfall, Alan Sheehan and Michael Harriman gave us a platform to compete.

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"They organised and they talked and got people in front of them working and we've got willing workers - Sam Hoskins, Shaun McWilliams, Jack Sowerby. They will all work hard. We had the understanding of the shape with Nicky Adams on one side.

"It wasn't a day for our front two because we lacked the creativity to give them enough to work with, but there's another side of the game. If things aren't going for you with the ball in attack, you've still got a job to do defensively and I thought out front two worked very well and understood their roles."

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