Curle praises fitness levels of players after busy spell ends with Burton win

Keith Curle has praised the 'fitness and mental' preparation of his players after they ended the busy festive period with Sunday's outstanding 4-2 victory at Burton Albion.

Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 8:14 am
Updated Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 8:15 am
Vadaine Oliver

The Cobblers played five times in 16 days across Christmas and New Year, winning two, drawing two and losing the other at Crawley.

The pick of those results undoubtedly came in the final game when Nicky Adams, Ryan Watson, Charlie Goode and Sam Hoskins all scored in an FA Cup upset of League One Burton.

"It shows the fitness of the players and the mental preparation and that's something we show great attention to," said Curle.

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"The changing room is set challenges and when you've got a good group, they accept challenges. They don't fear challenges, they don't fear the opposition and they don't fear playing in a stadium from the league above.

"They accept those challenges, individually and collectively. We'll win some games, we'll draw some games and in other games we might get a negative result but we won't shy away from the challenge and that's pleasing."

Curle reserved extra praise for Vadaine Oliver after revealing the striker hadn't been able to train in the lead up to Sunday's cup tie.

Oliver didn't score himself but had a fine game at the Pirelli Stadium, involved in two of the four goals in a tireless performance up front.

"We've had to nurse Vadaine through this week because he hasn't been able to train," revealed Curle.

"It's not so much that he's struggled but we've had to monitor him and show good work ethic towards him but also an understanding of what he's capable of when he's fit.

"He's just not been himself but he's played a large bank of games and so have a few of the players. To put in that effort and get the result and produce the performance was excellent."