Curle 'has a lot of faith' in Pollock after teenager again impresses off the bench

Scott PollockScott Pollock
Scott Pollock | Getty
When Alan McCormack was substituted an hour into Saturday's clash with Grimsby Town, some may have feared that Cobblers, holding a dreaded 2-0 lead at the time, would lose control of the game.

The 36-year-old was making his first start since Boxing Day and it was perhaps no coincidence that the Cobblers looked so assured and dominant at Blundell Park as a result, easing into a 2-0 lead through goals from Charlie Goode and Callum Morton.

But McCormack is on his way back from a long-term absence so was never going to last the distance, meaning Town had to survive the last half-hour without him.

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Enter Scott Pollock. The teenage midfielder is half the age and has over 500 fewer professional appearances than the man he replaced at Blundell Park and yet he picked up where McCormack left off.

The 18-year-old was universally praised for his 30-minute cameo against Exeter City the previous weekend but, if anything, he was even better during the final half-hour at Grimsby.

Pollock was straight into the action after his introduction on the hour, immediately winning a tackle on the edge of the penalty box and crossing dangerously into the box, just tantalisingly in front of Morton.

That set the tone for a bright and lively cameo, and he was heavily involved thereafter as Cobblers easily held on for all three points, adding a third through Morton late on.

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"I've got a lot of faith and a lot of belief in Scotty Pollock," said manager Keith Curle afterwards.

"Technically Scotty has got all the ability, he just needs to come out of his shell and express himself and go hunting for tackles if you're playing in midfield, but it's coming and you can tell it's coming."

Pollock has now made 17 appearances this season but his last start came over two months ago, and whilst he's impressed everyone in recent games, the competition for midfield places at the Cobblers is extremely heated.

"It's disappointing for myself that so far I've not been able to get Scotty as much game-time as what I think he will get," added Curle.

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"But he's learning and he's developing and just being in and around the group is beneficial

"That's why he's not been out on loan and it's the same with Morgan Roberts because I think they're both within touching distance of the first-team squad.

"Part of their development and part of their learning process is picking up good habits and good traits."

Despite having a wealth of options to pick from, Curle still managed to find room for 19-year-old winger Roberts in his matchday squad on Saturday.

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"With Morgan, we need an end product," he continued. "We need him to come out of his shell and go and have shots and put crosses into the box. Rather than let somebody else do it, you go and do it.

"That's part of the development for both of them and I've got to say, they're turning into very good professionals with good understanding and they've also got that hunger."