Curle sings Arnold's praises but gives young Harding a ticking off

Keith Curle was full of praise for Steve Arnold after the goalkeeper's impressive performance against Portsmouth in midweek.

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 7:39 am
Steve Arnold

Two days on from a modest display in the cup win over Notts County, Arnold produced easily his best showing for the club at Fratton Park.

He denied Gareth Evans in the first-half but his best saves came in the second when superbly keeping out two headers from Brett Pitman before reacting quickly to thwart John Marquis.

It was a timely reminder of Arnold's quality in his battle with David Cornell for the number one position.

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"He made some great saves and that's what Steve Arnold is about - making saves," said Curle.

"It was an important performance for Stevie and it was slightly different for him because he played two games in 48 hours.

"It was another test and another challenge for him but he did well."

Meanwhile, Tuesday's EFL Trophy tie was a momentous occasion for young Michael Harding who made his Cobblers debut as a second-half substitute, though it was not all rosy for the 18-year-old.

"I asked him before the game if he was nervous and he said he was and I thought that was excellent because I like players who are nervous," Curle added.

"But the biggest disappointment is that he's turned up with dirty boots! I told him that disappoints me so much but I've said to him from now on, for every training and every game, whether it's with the youth team or the first-team, your boots are sparkling.

"Because that tells me you're on the right road. You can't turn up with dirty boots.

"I will be having a word with Jon (Brady) because it's a mindset thing - you don't turn up to a first-team game with dirty boots.

"I know he was excited to get on the pitch but he's walked away with a message - make sure you're in the right mindset when you're in and around the first-team."