'I've never had a pre-season like this one' - Keith Curle opens up about Cobblers' manic summer
Keith Curle has seen a lot during his 17 years as a manager but he admits even he has never experienced a summer quite like the current one at Northampton Town.
Twelve new signings, nine departures and virtually a whole new group of players, Curle has been an extremely busy man as he attempts to transform Town's squad from middling also-rans to League Two promotion contenders.
Matty Warburton was the first name through the door in May but he was quickly followed by the likes of Chris Lines, Joe Martin and Harry Smith before Curle stepped it up a notch by swooping for Luton's Alan McCormack and former Sixfields favourite Nicky Adams.
Charlie Goode's loan became a permanent in early July whilst there was also plenty of movement in the other direction with club legends John-Joe O'Toole and David Buchanan released, Ash Taylor's contract mutually terminated and Aaron Pierre, last season's Player of the Year, sold to Shrewsbury Town.
Curle has been a manager for 17 years, initially taking the reins at Mansfield Town before also managing Notts County and Carlisle United among others, but even for him this summer has been a unique one.
However, having replaced Dean Austin last October and overseeing a disappointing mid-table finish in League Two, he knew there was plenty of work that needed to be done.
"I've not had a pre-season like this one," he admitted. "But you live and die by decisions as a manager and without being disrespectful, I knew there needed to be changes within the group.
"We've brought in a lot of players and a lot of good players and there are also a lot of good players that have remained at the club. That's because we want to be a progressive football club that gets better and better and better."
Curle's not been alone in his work to overhaul Town's squad this summer and he's received valuable support from chairman Kelvin Thomas and chief executive James Whiting.
"I've had backing from the football club and support from the chairman, the chief executive, the secretary and it's been a very good team effort," added Curle.
"There's been lots of communication and lots of dialogue between us all and that's a massive factor in us moving forward as a football club - keeping those lines of communication open.
"It shows good teamwork and good house by everybody that has been involved in the recruitment process."
Taking those 12 new players and blending them into a successful, coherent and consistent team will now be the true test for Curle, but after six pre-season friendlies, it's been a case of so far, so good.
Curle continued: "Overall, bringing in the amount of players we have, there's been a continued growth of unity within the changing room and a good understanding with a good pecking order and good personalities.
"There are players in there that have won promotions and they know what's needed."