Curle ready to do battle with old pal Artell as Crewe come to town

Crewe Alexandra manager David Artell
Crewe Alexandra manager David Artell

Keith Curle comes face-to-face with a man he knows very well when the Cobblers square up to Crewe Alexandra in Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two clash at the PTS Academy Stadium (ko 3pm).

Alex boss David Artell is of course no stranger to Town fans having spent a year at Sixfields as a player, making 14 appearances, but he is even better known to Curle, who signed Artell twice when he was manager of Mansfield Town and Chester City.

David Artell made 14 appearances for the Cobblers

David Artell made 14 appearances for the Cobblers

The pair have also locked horns as managers before, with Curle claiming two wins as Carlisle boss to Artell’s one, and the Town boss knows what to expect from Crewe and their manager.

Curle said:; “I know a few of their players, and I know the manager, I have signed him twice!

“He was a good, combative centre-back, he wasa very honest and had a good understanding of his strengths and weaknesses within the game.

“I think he has taken to management very well, and he has gone to a very good football club that has an excellent tradition of producing players, and arguably sum up the modern buzz words of ‘playing the game the right way’.

“I think David is enjoying himself and enjoying his environment.”

The Alex go into Saturday’s game off the back of a 3-0 home midweek defeat to Mansfield Town, but that was a loss that brought at end a fouyr-match unbeaten run.

Crewe are one point and one place above the Cobblers in the league two table, and Curle is wary of what they are capable of producing when they get their game right.

“I know a few of the players as well and I have a lot of time for them, they have some good players that on their day can cause you problems,” said the Cobblers boss.

“So we are very respectful, we will look at their strengths and weaknesses, and then earn the right to play the game the way we want to play it.

“They will come here, and they will be in for a competitive game of football.”

The Cobblers will be without the suspended Sam Foley, while there is no official word yet on when injured players Ash Taylor, Shay Facey, Leon Barnett, Dean Bowditch or Junior Morias are going to be available for selection again.