Curle says 'demanding' McCormack will dish out home truths to team-mates

Keith Curle has warned his players that they will have to grow accustomed to Alan McCormack 'screaming in their faces' after the midfielder played his first minutes for the Cobblers in Friday's friendly victory over MK Dons.

Saturday, 27th July 2019, 8:24 pm
Fans got their first sight of Alan McCormack in a Cobblers shirt on Friday. Picture: Pete Norton

McCormack, who managed only 28 appearances for Luton Town across the past two seasons, has been handled carefully in pre-season with Curle not willing to risk his key midfielder in any of Town's first five friendlies, mostly due to a slight hamstring problem.

But he turned out in a Cobblers shirt for the first time on Friday evening when playing 45 minutes against MK Dons as goals from Sam Hoskins and Harry Smith earned Curle's side a 2-1 victory.

Breaking up play, barking out instructions and marshalling his fellow midfielders, McCormack's influence was clear for all to see during his time on the pitch and his manager will be hoping for more of that once the season gets underway.

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"There's more to come from Alan," said Curle. "I think he played with the handbrake on and there's more to come.

"But you can tell by his personality, he's a demanding character and the players will get used to Alan McCormack getting in their face, screaming and demanding, but he does it in the right way and for the right reasons.

"He wants us to play at the right times and he wants us to put balls into good areas.

"If somebody makes a mistake, he will growl. If somebody does something well, he will say well done and that's what the group need rather than getting the unlucky shout if they do something wrong.

"If the phrase 'unlucky' becomes used too often it becomes second nature and then it doesn't matter. There's nothing wrong with saying 'not good enough, you're better than that'."

Keeping McCormack fit for a large chunk of the season will be crucial for the Cobblers if they are to enjoy a successful campaign.

"He's done his return-to-game protocol," Curle added when asked about the 35-year-old's fitness. "When players are injured here, they work. It's not a case of waiting until they're injury-free or pain-free.

"They actually work which is a great credit to the fitness team and the work they put into them. We'll have a game behind-closed-doors among ourselves and he will get more minutes.

"The one thing you have to do with Alan is put the reins on him and say you've done enough now."