FEATURE: In-form Turnbull thrilled to be making a positive contribution
Few Cobblers players have benefited from the change of manager quite like Jordan Turnbull.
A bystander under former boss Dean Austin, the 23-year-old defender had made just two cup appearances and one brief league outing before Keith Curle’s appointment at the start of October.
Left out of the team that drew at home to Bury in Curle’s first game, injuries to Leon Barnett and Ash Taylor presented a rare opening for Turnbull when the Cobblers headed to Swindon Town for their 12th league game of the season.
And he grabbed the opportunity with both hands. His man of the match display in the 1-1 draw with Phil Brown’s team had people why wondering he was made to sit and watch on the sidelines while Northampton’s defence leaked goals for so long.
The former Coventry and Partick Thistle man has since played every minute of every game, backing up his performance at the County Ground with a string of excellent showings in the following five matches, including Saturday’s 2-1 win over Oldham Athletic.
“I had a really tough start to the season but that’s something most players go through and I just had to stick with it,” said Turnbull, who signed for the club on a free transfer back in January.
“Since the manager’s come in I’ve featured heavily and I’ve really, really enjoyed myself. We’ve changed between formations and played three at the back and four at the back but I’ve felt really comfortable.
“Even being on the right side of Pierre on Saturday, my weaker side, I’m adapting to my role and I’m enjoying it, especially as the team are working hard and picking up results.
“I’m happy with my contribution but I now have to focus on producing a performance every single week and keeping hold of the shirt.”
Whether he’s playing in a back three or a back four, Turnbull has looked comfortable and commanding alongside the equally impressive Aaron Pierre, with the two central to both Town’s turnaround in form and their resilient defensive effort in the second-half against Oldham.
Leading 2-0 through John-Joe O’Toole and Kevin van Veen, Cobblers played the whole of the second period with a man less after Sam Foley’s red card but, bar one lapse that allowed Robert Hunt to poke a goal back, they withstood Oldham’s dominance with impressive ease, goalkeeper David Cornell not once called into strenuous action.
“I’m much happier after games when Dai has an easier match and I’m sure he is too,” added Turnbull.
“The lads were fantastic, not just the defenders. We had our strikers playing as full-backs at times so everyone put a shift in and I think we deserved the win.
“The boys were focused and mentally switched on and we carried out our jobs to perfection after the red card.
“We dealt with it really well and we had to be disciplined and check over our shoulders. We knew they’d have a lot of the ball and we didn’t have an outlet but we had to stick to our roles and the lads did it perfectly. It was a fantastic effort.”