Curle: Homegrown duo 'not far away' from first-team despite return of injured players

Scott Pollock and Keith CurleScott Pollock and Keith Curle
Scott Pollock and Keith Curle | Getty
Pollock and Roberts still in the frame for selection

Academy youngsters Scott Pollock and Morgan Roberts are still very much in Keith Curle's thoughts when he selects his squad each week despite the return of key men from injury.

Pollock played 30 minutes against Exeter City on Saturday while Roberts, who spent time on loan at AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Banbury United before Christmas, has made a handful of substitute appearances this season.

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James Olayinka, Andy Williams and Shaun McWilliams are the only current absentees but although he's spoilt for choice in a number of positions, Curle insists the club's homegrown youngsters are always in his mind.

"We've got players back fit but there's still a pathway for young players and they're an integral part of our squad," he said.

"Scotty's got a future and it's credit to him and also Morgan Roberts because they've been on the fringes but they've shown that hunger and that desire and that's why they've stayed with us and haven't gone out on loan.

"They're not far away and that shows that the pathway is there for young, emerging talent.

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"We've also just signed another young lad in Ethan Johnston and he's another player that will benefit and learn from seeing Callum Morton come into the team and work his socks off.

"It's having that right fit for how we think we can win games and get positive results."

Meanwhile, Saturday's win over the Grecians came as huge relief for one member of Curle's backroom staff.

The Cobblers were unbeaten in six league games when Ronnie Jepson replaced David Kelly at the start of February but they then lost three in a row prior to Saturday's victory.

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"There's been a few comments made to Ronnie," admitted Curle. "When he first joined we were chasing automatic promotion, now we're thinking do we need one win to make sure we survive and stay in the division!

"But Ronnie's an excellent addition for us. He's got a wealth of knowledge, he's a straightforward guy and he understands football and understands the basics very well.

"He's there to give advice, not only to myself but also the players, and to identify areas that make players look good players and that's what we did on Saturday - we did the simple things very well."