Curle explains why he chose Arnold over Cornell for Vale clash

Steve Arnold was in for his debut at Port Vale. Picture: Pete Norton
Steve Arnold was in for his debut at Port Vale. Picture: Pete Norton

Cobblers boss Keith Curle has explained why he selected Steve Arnold in goal for Saturday's game at Port Vale and dropped David Cornell to the bench after just one match of the new season.

There had been much debate over who would start the season in goal and it was Cornell, last year's undisputed number one, who got the nod when he played against Walsall.

But Curle threw a curveball with his team selection at Vale Park on Saturday when Arnold's name appeared in the starting line-up, with Cornell having to make do with a place on the bench.

"I think both of them have accepted the challenge and the standard of training has been excellent," Curle said afterwards.

"There's been very good competition for starting, I wouldn't say for number one but for starting, and because of that, I wanted to have a look at Steve as soon as I could do."

Curle admitted Cornell was frustrated not to start at Vale Park but, as it turned out, he was quickly into the action when Arnold picked up an injury during the second-half of Saturday's 1-1 draw.

"Of course Dai was disappointed because he felt he played OK last week but that's about managing the player's disappointment within the group," Curle added.

"Dai understood. He didn't like the decision but he's a mature lad and he's got good mental strength. The challenge has been set - if you're not selected, make sure you support Steve and respectful of him.

"Every week there's going to be competition for places and that's not only in the goalkeeper's position, that's all over the field."

Cornell had to be at his best in stoppage-time when pulling off a fine finger-tip save from Adam Crookes to ensure Town didn't leave Staffordshire empty-handed.

"He came in and made the save, tipped it over excellently and showed good agility and good positioning," continued Curle.

"He also came for crosses and the pleasing for me is that when they put a few balls in the box he had a good starting position and his focus was completely on the ball.

"That's what you want from your goalkeeper - you want him to make a decision, commit and collect the ball because it eases the pressure in and around our box.

"It also deflate the opposition when goalkeeper keeps coming and collects the ball."