Curle happy to be spoilt for choice up front - but warns no-one's starting place is safe

Strikers Vadaine Oliver and Andy Williams have been offered no assurances that they will keep their places in the Cobblers starting line-up despite impressing manager Keith Curle during Saturday's win over Crewe Alexandra.

Monday, 18th November 2019, 11:11 am
Vadaine Oliver received a standing ovation when he was replaced by Harry Smith during Saturday's victory. Picture: Pete Norton

Cobblers were 4-1 winners over Crewe and the damage was done inside the first 24 minutes when Scott Wharton's brace and a penalty from Sam Hoskins handed them a 3-0 lead.

Leading scorer Williams, a regular starter this season, then took his tally to six goals in all competitions - one clear of Hoskins - when producing a superb finish nine minutes into the second-half.

But it was the performance of strike partner Oliver, who's been more of a bit-part player this season, that won many plaudits and earned him the man of the match award.

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The 28-year-old was too much for Crewe's defence to handle and had a hand in two of the four goals, however with Harry Smith also starting to find his form in recent weeks, Curle has warned that neither Oliver nor Williams are guaranteed to stay in the team.

"The difficulty that we've got is we have all of Andy Williams, Harry Smith and Vadaine Oliver because they're three very, very good players," said Curle.

"The difficulty is that all three can't play at the same time so it'll be combinations of ones and twos with them but what we're trying to create is the support levels that's needed.

"If you're not one of the starting players, you've got to be ready and that's the same competition we've got for other positions.

"Each one of those three players are very, very important to us but just because Vadaine played well on Saturday and just because Andy Williams played well and got his goal, that doesn't mean they're going to start next week."

But Curle will find it difficult to drop anyone from the team that started on Saturday after the Cobblers inflicted just a second away defeat of the season on previous league leaders Crewe.

"There's a way to play against Crewe and the players took onboard the information and carried it out to a tee," added Curle.

"It could have been 3-3 in the first-half because they're a good team playing with confidence but ultimately there's a way of playing against them and you have to take your opportunities and we did that."