Curle looks to Wilder for inspiration as Cobblers show signs of progress

Then-Carlisle manager Keith Curle shakes hands with Chris Wilder after Cobblers' victory at Brunton Park in 2016.
Then-Carlisle manager Keith Curle shakes hands with Chris Wilder after Cobblers' victory at Brunton Park in 2016.

He didn't refer to him directly by name but everyone knew who Keith Curle was talking about when he spoke of Cobblers' most recent ride from bottom-half strugglers to emphatic promotion-winners.

When he was appointed almost 12 months ago, Curle would have been hoping to follow in Chris Wilder's footsteps: halt the slide, steady the ship and then lead a promotion charge. He's well on his way to completing the first two objectives but the third was always going to prove the trickiest.

However, Wilder has shown Curle the perfect template and having steered the Cobblers away from relegation and into mid-table last season, his side are now hoping to make steady progress towards the top end of the Sky Bet League Two table.

Saturday's win over Newport County made it back-to-back home victories and three wins across the last five in total, lifting the Cobblers up to 14th and within striking distance of the top 10.

"Every manager wants to win games in front of his own paying public," said Curle, whose team had won just 14 of their previous 48 home league matches prior to Saturday. "We've got fantastic support and I think the supporters understand where we're at because they've been here before.

"They've had a manager that came in, kept them up, second season finished in mid-table and then third season got them to where they wanted to be and got them out of the division.

"It's different personnel and a different platform now but we've come in, we're trying to stabilise and we're trying to show good housekeeping and we're trying to create a competitive squad that gets us operating in the top half of the division - we're trying to build."

If the Cobblers are to follow Curle's words with actions and construct a promotion challenge this season, the ability to back up one impressive result with another will be needed.

For one thing, defeat to struggling Stevenage on Tuesday evening would undo a lot of good work achieved against Newport.

"It's massive we go on from this," admitted striker Andy Williams. "Three points would be ideal but we have to go there and at least get something because we need to back up these home wins with points away.

"It'd be good to go on a run now. Newport came to us unbeaten and now we want to go on an unbeaten run ourselves and string a few results together.

"I want to go on a run as much as the team do too so hopefully we can put everything together and back this win up with another result on Tuesday."