Tough Owls test provides 'lots of positives' for Curle despite heavy defeat

Keith Curle, minus his hat, watches on at the PTS. Picture: Pete Norton
Keith Curle, minus his hat, watches on at the PTS. Picture: Pete Norton

Cobblers boss Keith Curle played down any concerns over his side's 4-0 friendly defeat to Sheffield Wednesday and instead insisted there were 'lots of positives' to come out of Tuesday's pre-season friendly.

The Owls, who finished 12th in the Championship, ply their trade to divisions above the Cobblers and that gulf in class was evident for much of Tuesday's contest at the PTS.

Wednesday showed no ill-effects of losing manager Steve Bruce the previous day, if anything they were spurred on by that as they racked up a comfortable victory thanks to goals from Adam Reach, Steven Fletcher, Atdhe Nuhiu and Jordan Rhodes.

But Curle, who has repeatedly said he wants his team to be tested in pre-season, came away feeling upbeat and satisfied that Town had been pushed to the limit.

He said: "It was a great workout for us and a great opportunity to have a look at the players against a team two levels above - it shows how good they are and where we need to get to.

"As a workout, it was excellent. As a mental and tactical test for the players, again it was excellent and exactly what we needed. Now I've said to the players that they've got a Premiership team to look forward to on Saturday.

"We wanted to test ourselves and we wanted to see our players stretched to the maximum - and arguably it was the wrong time to play Sheffield Wednesday because the manager has come out and the players know the next manager is potentially sat in the stand.

"So it was a good test for us and there were a lot of positives to come from it even in the face of defeat.

"At times we got exposed but technically and physically we were playing against a team levels above us. They moved the ball exceptionally well, their movement off the ball was excellent and they know how to run people away and when to play one or two touch passes.

"Sometimes it's difficult to get anywhere near them but for us it was a very good test for us."