Curle expecting serious challenge as Cobblers head to rock-bottom Stevenage
Stevenage may be rock-bottom of Sky Bet League Two and without a win all season, but Keith Curle is expecting them to provide 'a challenge' for this Cobblers team at Broadhall Way on Tuesday night (ko 7.45pm).
The Boro have gone through some turmoil in recent weeks, with boss Dino Maamria being sacked last week to be replaced on a caretaker basis by his assistant, Mark Sampson, the former boss of the England Women's team.
Sampson is being assisted by former Cobblers striker Alex Revell, with the pair being handed the task of turning results around after a desperately disappointing start to the campaign, with three draws and five defeats in eight starts.
Sampson was unable to have an instant impact at the weekend as Stevenage were beaten 3-2 at home by Carlisle United, but they are hpeful they can get their season up and running with a win against the Cobblers on Tuesday night.
The form book suggests Town, who were 2-0 winners over Newport at the weekend, should be favourites as they head to Broadhall Way.
But Curle is wary of a team that ended last season with a swagger, winning five of their final six matches to finish just one point outside the play-offs.
"Stevenage are a capable team," said the Cobblers boss.
"I think the season they had last season saw them overachieve, and I think the manager who has just left the club paid the price for that this season.
"They have goals in the team in (Kurtis) Guthrie and (Craig) Mackail-Smith, and they have a threat.
"They have good movement, they play lots of short passes and the width comes from the full-backs.
"They have two young centre-backs who were tested on Saturday, but they will provide a challenge, as does every team in this division.
"We know we are not going to get easy games, and we accept that, but it is about our mindset, and our mentality going into this game, and I will be working on making sure they are where they should be."
The Cobblers are hoping to claim back-to-back wins for the first time since early March.
Midfielder Shaun McWilliams, who was forced off due to breathing problems in the win over Newport, should be available for selection, while both Alan McCormack and Reece Hall-Johnson are closing in on returns.
Stevenage are currently undergoing something of an injury crisis and are missing several key players, with one of those sidelined being former Cobblers midfielder Joel Byrom.
The Cobblers were 2-1 winners on their most recent visit to Broadhall Way, with Andy Williams scoring a last-minute winner to seal a 2-1 win there in February.