McCormack could return as Cobblers host MK Dons in final friendly
Midfielder Alan McCormack could be in line to make his first appearance for the Cobblers when they face Milton Keynes Dons in their final pre-season friendly on Friday evening.
The summer signing from Luton Town, who suffered injury issues throughout the previous two seasons, has yet to play a single minute during Town’s pre-season campaign having struggled with a ‘very minor hamstring strain’.
The Sky Bet League Two season kicks-off with a home game against Walsall next weekend but Curle remains confident McCormack will be fit – and he could potentially feature when Paul Tisdale’s Dons visit the PTS on Friday.
“Alan McCormack might be available,” said Curle. “He hasn’t played a game in pre-season so it would be interesting to get him on the pitch and get him some game-time.
“He might be involved. It was touch and go whether he played or not against Brackley but with the return-to-game protocol we have he needs to get the minutes and the metres under his belt before we let him loose.”
The Cobblers have lost three of their five friendlies so far, the latest coming at the hands of non-league Brackley Town on Tuesday evening when Tendai Daire’s second-half goal separated the teams.
That came after successive defeats to Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United.
Friday’s clash with the Dons, who were promoted to League One last season, provides Town with an opportunity to bounce back and finish pre-season with a win.
Curle, who made six changes for Tuesday’s trip to St James Park, again plans to rotate his squad with the intention of ensuring everyone is up to speed in time to face Walsall next Saturday.
He added: “If you look at the structure we’ve had in pre-season, we’ve had great opportunities to pit ourselves against Championship and Premier League opposition.
“It was disappointing to come down to a Conference North team and as a professional outfit get turned over.
“There’ll be more changes on Friday and there are some players, like Charlie Goode, Joe Martin, Reece Hall-Johnson, that still need minutes.
“There were a few players that topped themselves up on minutes on Tuesday but we record everything – all the minutes and all the distances we cover in training.
“That’s what it’s all about at this time – getting minutes into legs.”
Discussing the formation change to 4-2-3-1 against Brackley, Curle added: “I wanted to look at us in a back four with Joe Martin as an out-and-out left-back and Reece Hall-Johnson as an out-and-out right-back with Charlie Goode as a right-sided centre-back.
“But if you have a look at the personnel and switches in formation, it’s all about getting minutes in.”