Curle sends warning message to his players ahead of Macclesfield 'challenge'

Keith Curle. Picture: Pete Norton
Keith Curle. Picture: Pete Norton

It remains to be seen how Maclesfield's players react to the loss of their manager but, irrespective of who's in the opposite dugout, Keith Curle has a warning message for the Cobblers team he selects this weekend: underestimate the Silkmen at your peril.

Bearing in mind what happened in this fixture last term, when Northampton won 5-0 away and then 3-1 at home, coupled with Macclesfield's season-long battle against relegation and the expectation for many, both among Cobblers supporters and elsewhere, will be for a home victory.

The loss of Sol Campbell as manager and the ongoing financial issues at Moss Rose only adds to the sense that this is an ideal opportunity for Town to register their first three points of the new League Two campaign.

But, on the pitch, the Silkmen are a different beast than the one thrashed by Northampton on home soil 10 months ago. An unfortunate 1-0 defeat to Exeter City on the opening day was followed by a big home win over Leyton Orient and then a cup upset of Blackpool in midweek.

The surprising departure of Campbell could also go one of two ways. It may well inspire and galvanise the players or deflate and demoralise them. The answer will come at 3pm on Saturday.

Regardless, though, Curle says his own players must be on it from the word go and continue on from Tuesday's display at Swansea CIty, otherwise Saturday could turn into another grind in front of their own supporters.

Speaking before Campbell left his position as Silkmen boss, Curle said: "There were lots of positives to come out of Tuesday's game and that leads us to Saturday which will be another challenge.

"There will be an expectation on us because of the season Macclesfield had last season and everybody thinks this is going to be your first win of the season as it's 'only' Macclesfield.

"Let me tell you, Macclesfield are well organised and they will pose problems and it'll be another challenge for ourselves.

"It's a different team. People will have the memory of winning 5-0 at their place and us beating them 3-1 at our place and think it's an opportunity to get our first win on the board but nobody will give us three points.

"That's the message to the players - everything we get this season we earn and you earn it by showing the attitude, the application and the willingness to accept the challenge as we did against Swansea.

"Those qualities have got to be in place from the first minute against Macclesfield on Saturday."

Matty Warburton, who scored against Swansea in midweek, is also expecting a tough game when Town return to the PTS this weekend.

"Macc got a great result on Saturday and they went through on Tuesday but it's a home game for us," he said.

"I watched the game against Macclesfield last season when we won 3-1 so hopefully we can get a similar result.

"We just need to take the positives out of Tuesday's game, of which there are loads, and really take them into Saturday's game."