Former FA Cup semi-finalist Curle has some words of advice for his players

Keith Curle captained Wolves in the 1998 FA Cup semi-finalKeith Curle captained Wolves in the 1998 FA Cup semi-final
Keith Curle captained Wolves in the 1998 FA Cup semi-final
Keith Curle will call upon his own experience of big FA Cup occasions when the Cobblers host Derby County in the fourth round this evening.

The Northampton manager reached the FA Cup semi-final in 1998 when he captained Wolverhampton Wanderers in a 1-0 defeat to eventual winners Arsenal.

Cobblers are not quite at that stage yet but a sell-out crowd and the live TV cameras, plus Wayne Rooney's possible presence, means tonight's tie is about as big as it gets for the club.

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"The message to the players is to play the game and not the occasion," said Curle.

"There are fundamentals that we're tying to put in place that are key indicators of us playing well and that doesn't change no matter who we play against.

"Put the ball in good areas, earn the right to play, play when it's on to play and when it's not on to play, we put the ball into good areas and we get after it. It's very simple.

"Do you sit off them or do you try and press them and get them to play League Two football?"

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Tonight's game is Town's third of five in 15 days and comes just 72 hours after the draw at Leyton Orient, but Curle has no concerns regarding his side's fitness.

"It's work for us so we don't get fatigued," he added. "You get beleaguered if you finish your work and then have to go and do another shift.

"Tuesday was work, players rested on Wednesday and they've worked again on Thursday so fatigue won't be a problem for us.

"It's about the mental approach. We look forward to games and players would rather play games than train because at the end of a game there's a reward.

"They know how we work and how we operate. Friday is work day."