Curle: MK Dons clean sheet will be 'the first of many' for Cobblers

Alan Sheehan.Alan Sheehan.
Alan Sheehan.
Town boss has faith in his defence

A bullish Keith Curle believes Tuesday's clean sheet against MK Dons will be 'the first of many' for the Cobblers this season.

Town had to wait a while for their first shut out of the campaign following a series of indifferent defensive performances, but they kept the opposition out at the 11th time of asking when drawing 0-0 with Russell Martin's side.

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Cobblers still have one of the worst defensive records in League One - only Burton Albion have conceded more goals - but Curle believes his side are trending in the right direction, particularly following the arrival of Alan Sheehan.

"It's the first of many," said Curle. "Alan has come in and he's given us that balance and that experience and a bit of personality.

"We've got two very good competitors in Cian Bolger and Fraser Horsfall. They're developing a partnership and in Fraser's case, he's learning about this division and he'll only get get better playing alongside those players.

"We've also got Luka Racic who's another player to have come in and he's developing his craft and his trade and he's champing at the bit waiting for his opportunity as well. Having that little bit of competition is good and healthy for the squad."

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Horsfall could and probably should have won Tuesday's game for the Cobblers with a couple of second-half opportunities, first heading Ricky Holmes' cross wide and then nodding against the crossbar from a Sheehan corner.

"We could have won it with Fraser's chances," continued Curle. "The first one was poor technique because you've got to head it down and head it on target and it's probably a goal.

"He then showed good movement to get away from his man for the second chance and another day it hits the bar and we tap it in or it goes in off the bar, but at least now we're looking a threat from set-pieces."

Whilst the Cobblers will be permitted to train and play despite another nationwide lockdown coming into force from Thursday, Curle accepts they still have to take extra care to prevent an outbreak of coronavirus cases, as seen at other clubs.

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"It's a busy time for us with 13 games coming up in two months but there's another lockdown imminent so we've got to get everyone prepared for that and we've got to make sure our protocols at the club are where they need to be," he added.

"It's important that people are mindful of the reasons why there is a national lockdown. We've got a part to play because we're still allowed to do our jobs so we've got to be respectful of that and make sure we adhere to the protocols that we have in place."

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