Curle explains why Cobblers turned down friendly opportunities

Keith Curle.Keith Curle.
Keith Curle.
'In our camp we are focused on what we're about and what we're going to do.'

Manager Keith Curle has explained why the Cobblers turned down the opportunity to play a friendly or two prior to next week's League Two play-off semi-final against Cheltenham Town.

Several clubs in both the Premier League and the Championship have arranged friendlies for this week and next in preparation for the resumption of their seasons later in the month.

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Play-off opponents Cheltenham also took on Championship outfit Cardiff City in a behind-closed-doors fixture on Tuesday when they were beaten 3-1.

Town did have the chance to do something similar but although he considered it, Curle wanted to ensure his side's attentions remained on themselves.

"I toyed with the idea of playing a friendly and weighed up the benefits of it but I want the focus to be on ourselves so we can put in place the fundamentals of what got us on an upward curve, playing-wise," he explained.

"We've been training and focusing on those fundamentals and making sure they are right. We did have the opportunity to play a few Championship clubs.

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"I weighed up the benefits and pros and cons of potentially playing those games, but two of them would have been away and I was thinking 'do I want to travel away with all the protocols and the social distancing that has to be in place?'

"It was something that I didn't want to put the players through and I didn't deem it necessary at a time when we're still working on our fundamentals and I said to the players that I want to focus on what we need to do on the day, individually and collectively.

"I've seen some of the results. Chartlon got beat 6-0 at Arsenal, Cheltenham got beat 3-1 and there are other games going on but it's about what each individual manager wants and our focus has very much been on ourselves.

"Other teams and other managers might be preparing for a nine-game season but we're preparing for a two or - hopefully - three game season and in our camp we are focused on what we're about and what we're going to do."