Cobblers boss Keith Curle has already decided who will stay and who will leave this summer and says he’s now ‘shopping’ for upgrades despite six games of the season still remaining.
A summer clear-out has always looked on the cards once the season comes to an end in May and that was only made more inevitable by Saturday’s abysmal 2-1 home defeat to 10-man Port Vale, after which a visibly frustrated Curle laid bare his side’s shortcomings.
If you can’t change players, you change players. It’s not a threat, it’s a realisation. For me to be successful at this club, I will need better players.
Up until Saturday, Curle had opted for a more restrained, measured approach during his post-match interviews, whether they were in victory or defeat, but he looked a man reaching the end of his tether following the loss to Port Vale.
And few could blame him given the dismal manner of his side’s performance as they somehow slipped to defeat against struggling Vale despite the visitors having a man sent off when trailing 1-0 with 44 minutes gone.
Goals from David Worrall and Tom Pope turned things around, and now the futures of the vast majority of Town’s squad look in serious doubt beyond the end of the current season, particularly after Curle’s forthright interview.
“We need a starting point in the changing room and the starting point is that the personnel in there aren’t right,” said the Town boss.
“It was nowhere near good enough and I think I can sum it up by saying there are certain things in certain players that I can change and part of my job at the club is changing those players for the better.
“But as for the players that I can’t change, I’ll change (replace) them and I’ve already made my mind up.
“I’m already out shopping now. Myself, the coaching staff and the head of recruitment, we are out looking for improvement.
“If you can’t change players, you change players. It’s not a threat, it’s a realisation. For me to be successful at this club, I will need better players.”
With six matches still to go until he can get stuck into the transfer market, Curle will now need to lift his players for next weekend’s trip to second-bottom Notts County, who are fighting for their Football League lives.
“There’s a massive thing in football – you do well and if you perform, you will get rewards,” he added. “If you don’t perform and if you don’t play well, you don’t get rewarded.
“What you will get is negativity and my job is to be in and around it and dilute the negativity which is in the group and I will make sure the focus is on the players representing themselves, representing the football club and representing me.”