Curle feels the loss of two key men has hurt Cobblers

Keith Curle
Keith Curle

Cobblers boss Keith Curle believes the loss of midfielders Alan McCormack and Ryan Watson to injury have been particularly damaging to his side's chances on the pitch this season.

Watson was in a fine run of form - arguably Town's outstanding performer - when injury stopped him in his tracks during last month's EFL Trophy tie with Peterborough United.

The 26-year-old has been out with a broken collarbone ever since and is unlikely to return before December, while McCormack's only start of the season came on the very first day.

Curle has had to juggle other injuries too but he feels the prolonged absence of McCormack and Watson have hindered his team in particular.

He said: "Alan McCormack, Ryan Watson, Joe Martin, Steve Arnold - we've had key players missing through suspensions and injuries but every team gets that.

"But it's difficult being without both Ryan Watson and Alan McCormack because they're two players that would play a pivotal part in the midfield area.

"If they're missing, it does have an impact on how we want to play. Both have them have got a level of aggression and good ability on the ball.

"They understand their roles out of possession and they understand their roles in possession so taking them out of the team has been a miss.

"But we've still gained points without them and one of the things that have come out of the meetings over the last couple of days has been: how do we get the wins and what are the instructions?

"Play in the opposition's half, freedom to express yourself in the opposition's half and if they've got the ball, we want it back so the nearest man goes and closes the ball down to get it back.

"We didn't do that on Saturday and that was evident. If you don't do the basics, you're not going to get the results you want."