’I’m working with someone else’s jigsaw,’ says Curle ahead of January window

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Keith Curle will not be forced into making any ‘knee-jerk’ decisions when the transfer window opens next week, but he’s nonetheless hoping to put his own mark on the squad having now gained a ‘good understanding’ of what he has at his disposal.

At the halfway point of the Sky Bet League Two campaign, Curle has taken the Cobblers from 21st at the time of his appointment in October to 14th, collecting 19 points from 13 games and losing just twice.

I now have a good understanding of exactly what I’ve got here and that’s important going into the January window because I now know what I have in the changing room.

But their recent downturn in form - one victory in eight games across all competitions - has only served to highlight the shortcomings in Northampton’s current squad and Curle, yet to have the opportunity to sign his own players, will finally get the opportunity to do so when the transfer window opens in just a few days’ time.

“I’m working with someone else’s pieces of a jigsaw and ultimately you’re trying to make the picture look something like, and resemble, a team,” said Curle. “I think we’ve done that over a short period of time.

“There’s a team ethic and a work ethic within the group, but of course there’s still going to be room for improvement going forward.

“I’m a keen puzzler but it’s not a case of making wholesale changes. January is a very, very difficult window for a manager and a club. Depending on where you are, there can be some knee-jerk reactions by managers and by clubs, but the chairman has got confidence in myself.

“I don’t make knee-jerk reactions. I’m quite composed and I’m quite relaxed in my approach to improvement, but I put demands on people. I now have a good understanding of exactly what I’ve got here and that’s important going into the January window because I now know what I have in the changing room.”

Taking over a sinking ship from Dean Austin in October, there can be no doubt Curle has improved things at Northampton, even if recent performances have tailed off.

“We’re still a work-in-progress,” he added. “I think it’s always difficult when you come in because I am different and my methods are slightly different.

“I have professional standards for the players and it can some longer than others to adjust but ultimately there’s good camaraderie within the group and good team spirit and good work ethic.

“Now we need to put more demands on each other and understand the simple things in football. I like the simple things done well.

“The players are getting used to how I train and sometimes players can take longer than others to understand the simplicity and the message and the vision that I’m trying to create and that I see from them collectively and individually.”