WEMBLEY 2020: Curle hopes to lead Cobblers to promotion and take step closer to his Premier League dream

Keith Curle.Keith Curle.
Keith Curle.
Players told to 'play the game, not the occasion'

Cobblers boss Keith Curle hopes winning promotion in the League Two play-off final at Wembley this evening will take him a step closer to his ultimate ambition of managing in the Premier League.

It's well-documented that Curle has never won a promotion as a player or a manager, although he was part of the Queens Park Rangers coaching staff that reached the Premier League in 2011.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, he has an excellent opportunity to finally experience a promotion as a manager when the Cobblers face Exeter City in the play-off final.

"We'll go to Wembley and we'll play the game, not the occasion," said Curle. "That has to be the mindset of the players.

"That's why I get paid the big bucks and that's my job. It's not only about what happens on the pitch but it's also what happens off the pitch and I've had fantastic help from the infrastructure at the club in creating the right environment and creating a winning mentality.

"Only because a coach or a manager walks into a football club, that winning mentality doesn't walk in with him. You have to be prepared to build that and having the infrastructure and having guidance and support, that has helped us build a winning mentality that gives us a good foundation and a good foothold for progression.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"You only build that with great staff around you - above and below you."

After last week's superb win at Cheltenham, the challenge now for the Cobblers is to finish the job - and Curle knows how much that would mean, both to the club and himself personally.

"I think everybody who saw the semi-final would have seen how far we have come as a team," he told the EFL.

“We have to go into the final with that same level of performance, individually and collectively, the mindset has to be the same. It is a great opportunity to go out there and represent the football club by making a lot of people proud.

"I want to be successful and I need to be successful.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I have had a promotion as a player and I have had one as a coach with Neil Warnock at Queens Park Rangers. I decided to go off and create my own path in management because I want to manage a team in the Premier League one day and a stepping stone is achieving promotion.”

At the age of 36, Alan McCormack has seen and done it all and will have an important role to play in guiding Town's more inexperienced players through tonight's grand occasion.

"It's a game of football," he said. "The goals are the same and the rules are the same and you still have the same objective.

"Sometimes you can get caught up in the moment, especially when thousands of fans are there and there's all the excitement and you're building up to it.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"It can get to some people but the fact that no fans will be there might make it a bit different and players will be a bit calmer and more relaxed going into the game.

"We showed last week. We were two goals down but we were very calm and relaxed and that's the attitude and the mentality we've got to have on Monday to go out and produce a performance."