Cobblers boss Keith Curle has explained his reasons for making four changes and also tweaking the system that led to his side’s crushing 5-0 victory over Macclesfield Town on Tuesday night.
Having played 3-5-2 in all five previous games since taking charge at the start of the month, Curle identified Town’s trip to Moss Rose on Tuesday as the right time to go to 4-4-2 with Daniel Powell and Andy Williams leading the line.
It could hardly have gone any better for the Cobblers who racked up their biggest away victory in 31 years. They romped into a 4-0 lead by half-time as Matt Crooks scored a 20-minute hat-trick while Powell also netted in a remarkable first-half before Aaron Pierre’s injury-time fifth put the gloss on a memorable night for the club and their 339 travelling fans.
“I looked at the opposition and felt we needed to stretch the play,” explained Curle when asked why he chose to play 4-4-2. “I didn’t think it was the game where we needed the extra man in midfield.
“I felt we could stretch it and give them problems in wide areas but also nullify their threat because they have some busy players that can play on the outside of the game and can step inside.
“We needed to have a foundation and a back four that made sure we didn’t get turned.”
It’s not making changes for the sake of it. It’s a case of respecting the opposition and I identified areas that we thought we could give them problems and that’s what I did.
In addition to playing a new formation, Curle also made four personnel changes as Powell and Crooks returned to the side alongside left-winger Jack Bridge and makeshift right-back Shaun McWilliams.
Curle added: “It’s not making changes for the sake of it. It’s a case of respecting the opposition and I identified areas that we thought we could give them problems and that’s what I did.
“We have the versatility and the quality in our squad and it’s important to be brave enough to use it when I think the time is right.”