Curle to make wholesale changes for Trophy trip to Portsmouth

Keith Curle
Keith Curle

Cobblers look set to field a heavily-rotated side when they head to Portsmouth for Tuesday night's Leasing.com Trophy match at Fratton Park.

Two days on from beating Notts County with close to a full-strength team, Keith Curle will likely use tonight's game as an opportunity to rest key men while handing fringe players a chance to impress.

The EFL Trophy ranks low down on Town's list of priorities in any case but even more so during this busy period of the season.

That's not to say Curle is writing the game off, however, and he still expects his team to give the League One hosts a run for their money on the south coast.

He said: "It's another opportunity for us to represent the football club and there will be a few changes but we've got a very competitive squad with players desperate to get into the starting line-up.

"This will be an opportunity for them to go and put in a performance that gives them justification for knocking on my door and telling me they should be playing and they want to be playing.

"Well, if so, then go and put in a performance that gives me a headache. It's a good opportunity for them to show what they can do."

Among those in need of game-time are Reece Hall-Johnson, Michael Harriman, Matty Warburton and the fit-again Ryan Watson, while young Scott Pollock could also be involved.

Shaun McWilliams and Joe Martin have yet to feature since returning to training but that could change this evening as the Cobblers look to extend their eight-game unbeaten run.

"It was an excellent start to a busy week on Sunday and now the focus moves onto Portsmouth," Curle added.

"It's a great stadium with good supporters and it'll be a competitive game. They had a tight game in their cup tie against Altrincham on Saturday but they'll take the competition seriously.

"It'll be an opportunity for some of their fringe players to produce a performance and try and get in the first-team.

"We probably go into the game as underdogs but it's another challenge for our players to go to a big stadium, as underdogs, and expecting to get beat."