Curle: Important for Cobblers to win without McCormack
Cobblers boss Keith Curle stressed the importance of his side being able to show they can win without the services of instrumental midfielder Alan McCormack after Saturday's victory over Forest Green Rovers
The 35-year-old was left out of the squad as a precaution and so it was down to the rest of the team to find a way past the third-placed visitors.
That they did thanks to a scrappy goal late in the first-half, however it cannot be disputed that, at times, Town missed their experienced midfielder.
The importance of McCormack is underlined by the statistics: Cobblers have won 67 per cent of the games he's started this season compared to 37 per cent when he's out of the team.
However, given his injury record and Curle's reluctance to take any risks, there will inevitably be times when McCormack has to be miss out and therefore Town must be able to win without him.
"It's very important for the changing room to win without Alan," admitted Curle. "They can grow in confidence from that and then that's a challenge for Alan.
"He's an important member of the squad and he's a very good player but we've got some other very good players in the changing room and they are vying and competing for his place.
"Alan knows when he plays that he doesn't get selected as a favour, you get selected on merit and on ability and what you can do to the squad.
"Alan's respectful to know that my best interests are for him because I want Alan McCormack available for as many games as possible."
Curle is not short on options in midfield though, particularly now Shaun McWilliams and Ryan Watson are back from injury, while Paul Anderson has also been impressing of late.
Curle added: "I think Alan's excited by what he's seeing and how the team and the squad are developing - look at the players we brought in on Saturday, like Michael Harriman.
"He's not been out in the cold as such but he hasn't been getting the game-time, but Saturday showed that his attitude is right, his mentality is right and he's got the ability to be flexible and creative.
"Shaun McWilliams is another. He's been out of the squad for a while and he's champing at the bit so we've got players who are desperate to play and that's vital for the changing room.
"That's not only for the players who are playing but the important part is that the squad has got a team mentality and that's very important."