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KEITH CURLE ON YOUNG PLAYERS HELPING TO WIN THE PENALTY SHOOT OUT, BOOSTING CONFIDENCE LEVELS AND THOUGHTS FOR SATURDAY

Some more thoughts from the Cobblers boss after last night's game

18 November 2020

Northampton Town manager Keith Curle says the penalty shoot out win over Stevenage on Tuesday night will help the confidence levels in the squad, particularly the younger players.

"We are through, we got a clean sheet and the way we took the penalties will give some of the young players a boost of confidence," he said.

"Penalty shoot outs, whatever the circumstances, are a test of character and our young players stood up to that.

"Alan Sheehan was due to take our last penalty, but he realised that Stevenage had missed two and that we had the last penalty to win so he gave it to Caleb Chukwuemeka (pictured) and that's good for Caleb's development. That shows what the group is about, helping and developing each other and I thought it topped off a bright cameo from Caleb on Tuesday night. It will mean a lot to that young man to have scored the winning penalty for the first team, whatever the circumstances.

"Some of the performances on Tuesday night gave me things to think about for Saturday. Shaun McWilliams came on and gave us a spark and that is what he is about. It was his sort of game, he was busy and energetic. I was tempted to play him in the FA Cup but I thought it might have been unfair on him, when you look at the time he has been out and the training he has missed, it took some of the other lads 3 or 4 days to get over that game on the artificial pitch and I didn't want him missing any more training than he already has. He has been waiting patiently and training well.

"We have had a sticky patch but this is where you find out about the fabric of a football club. You find out what the DNA of a club is. It is easy when things are going well but when you hit a sticky patch that is when people stand up to be counted. I won't shy away from my responsibilities, and I know people are disappointed every time we don't win. I respect that and my job is to make sure we continue to develop, accepting we will have up and down periods in that time, but it is about sticking together and moving forwards.

"We are a little flat up front at the moment. Some of our balls in to the front men are not of the quality we need them to be and some of our movement up front is a little bit cautious and that us because, as a group, we are not flying high with confidence. I have been here before as a player and a manager and the players go in to safety mode. They protect rather than attack and take the cautious option. We are encouraging them to release that safety catch and be more aggressive. That will come, things like the penalty shoot out win will help and we are looking forward to Saturday.

"We lost to Accrington last Saturday and we were disappointed but they are a good side. They won well away on Tuesday and they are an established side at this level and have been for a few years. They have won their last three league games without conceding and they are a few years ahead of us in their development but we will keep working hard to continue to develop."


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