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Cobblers boss also provides update on Shaun McWilliams and Luka Racic

12 October 2020

Northampton Town manager Keith Curle says his squad are not frightened of learning and developing as they come to terms with life in League 1.

After Saturday's loss to Peterborough United, the Cobblers have four points from 5 games, the same record as they had at the same stage last season, and Curle says his squad are ready for the challenge of learning and developing in League 1.

"Just like last season, we are on a learning curve," he said. "We are not afraid of learning and developing, that is part of our development and it hasn't come as a shock or as anything unexpected to us, playing against some good teams.

"We know we need to improve, we know we need to rise to and accept those challenges and we have a squad and a dressing room who will embrace that.

"We are honest in our appraisal, some League 1 clubs are ahead of us at this stage but when you have the belief in the path you are on, then the confidence stays high.

"Some individuals did well on Saturday. I thought Benny Ashley-Seal did well, I thought Ryan Watson did well when he came on, he plays on the front foot and Sam Hoskins could have scored a couple of goals, in particular that save in the first half was vital, we needed someone following in for a tap in. We got in to the final third a few times but we weren't productive enough when we did that. Peterborough did that part of their game well, they were very aggressive in their passing and that is something we can be better at."

The Cobblers boss admitted he is missing the supporters at games, with matches currently being played behind closed doors.

"We are really missing the supporters at the moment, so is every club. The noise on Saturday would have helped us, and I know we would have had a packed house," he said.

"The referee apologised to me after the first goal on Saturday, he admitted he got the throw in wrong and while it is frustrating, he was big enough to own up and apologise and I appreciate that. Hopefully the referee learns from it and we will learn from Saturday too. Things like that are where the supporters really play a part. There would have been plenty of people letting him know he got the throw in wrong I am sure."

In terms of injuries, Curle admitted that Luka Racic has been carrying a knock, and he might look at sending midfielder Shaun McWilliams out on loan.

"Shaun McWilliams got through his first 45 minutes in eight months last Tuesday and the next part of his return is to get a bank of games under his belt. He might benefit from a loan spell somewhere, that is an option we are looking at but it is great to have him back.

"Luka Racic has been suffering with a hamstring injury that has limited him. He hasn't been able to perform at 100% and so we are having to manage his load a little bit and I thought Michael Harriman did well in that position on Saturday.

"There is more to come from both Jack Sowerby and Danny Rose. Both made their full league debuts on Saturday and did well, but there is more to come.

"We have a clear midweek now before we got to Plymouth. That will be another tough game but our aim is to go there and get a result and we will be competitive. I thought we were competitive on Saturday but I thought it showed that Peterborough, like a few of the clubs at the top end of League 1, are slightly ahead of us. Our challenge is to close that gap and we are ready for that challenge."

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