Cobblers boss Curle wants ‘to see the whites of the eyes’ of players before signing them

Cobblers boss Keith Curle
Cobblers boss Keith Curle

On the surface, things may seem to have gone quiet on the Cobblers recruitment front.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Harry Smith

Harry Smith

Boss Keith Curle and the rest of the management and scouting team at the PTS Academy Stadium are working non-stop behind the scenes to bring in the players wanted and needed.

Curle has just returned from a family holiday spent ‘with my phone on my hip’, and he has revealed that meetings are currently ongoing with targeted players and their representatives.

He has spoken to a clutch of players this week in a bid to persuade them to sign on for the Cobblers. and he says it is now ‘all about timing’ as to whether or not those talks end in concrete deals, or the players ultimately decide their future lies elsewhere.

The initial burst of post-season signing activity saw Matty Warburton, Joe Martin, Chris Lines and Harry Smith all come in through the door.

There are players I know, players I have worked with before, but I still want to meet them, still want to speak to them, and see the whites of their eyes when we are having that conversation

Cobblers boss Keith Curle

Those signings certainly whetted the appetite of the Cobblers supporters, who have perhaps become a little frustrated that things have slowed up, with the last of those was two weeks ago, on May 15.

But Curle insists this is all simply part of the process, with the fact that he insists on talking to players in face-to-face meetings, rather than on the telephone, also meaning things will inevitably take a little longer.

Asked if his recruitment drive is going through a bit of a lull, Curle said: “I wouldn’t say it is a lull, it is all about timing and it’s what you find happens with the season just ended.

“We did our business early, we were doing our business before the season had ended, because we had already made contact with some of the players.

Chris Lines

Chris Lines

“With Chris Lines and Joe Martin we had approached them before, as we tried to bring them in in January, so that was just about continuing conversations with their representatives.

“We had also identified Harry Smith and Matty Warburton, and had been doing our background work to make sure everything stacked up for us to make approaches as soon as the season ended.

“While that was happening, we still had a list of players and potential targets, and now it is a case of tying those up.”

So although some Cobblers fans might be starting to get anxious, there is simply no need - especially as we have not yet reached the end of May.

Joe Martin

Joe Martin

Plenty of players and agents are currently enjoying a post-season break, and that means patience will be required.

“I met with another couple of players as soon as I got back from my holiday, and it’s all about timings at the moment,” added Curle, who is looking forward to his first pre-season as a Cobblers boss.

“We have meetings planned, but it’s the end of the season, players are away, agents are away, so it is a case of speaking to people.

“But how I work is I have conversations face to face with people.

“There are players I know, players I have worked with before, but I still want to meet them, still want to speak to them, and see the whites of their eyes when we are having that conversation.

“Some players want their representatives at the meetings, some players are happy to meet up without them, but some representatives don’t want players to meet without them.

Matty Warburton with Keith Curle

Matty Warburton with Keith Curle

“So it is a case of where and when, and ideally you don’t want to be having one meeting on one day.

“If I can have three meetings in a day then I will do that.”

And the Town boss then confirmed he has had a string of meetings with players this week.

“I had three meetings on Tuesday that were good first initial meetings.

“The meetings gave the players the opportunity to talk about themselves, and gave me the chance to sell the vision of the football club and where I want the football club to go.

“I also spoke about what role I want to see them being able to play, first and foremost with the ability they bring, but also the key assets they can bring to the squad.

“Then it is also about the character and environment I am trying to create for them to work in.”

The Cobblers squad currently stands at 19-strong, but eight of that number are teenagers who have made the step up from the club’s academy set-up in the past 12 months.

There is still a lot of work to do with regards to getting the squad up to scratch in readiness for the new Sky Bet League Two season which kicks off in August.

Another player who could be part of the group is Daniel Powell.

The former Milton Keynes Dons man was offered a new deal at the end of the season, but Curle has yet to hear back from the player.

“Daniel has been given a timeframe to give the club an answer on the contract offer, and he is still within that timeframe.” said Curle.

If Powell were to sign, he would join David Cornell, Aaron Pierre, Jordan Turnbull, Joe Martin, Shaun McWilliams, Chris Lines,

Matty Warburton, Junior Morias, Andy Williams, Sam Hoskins and Harry Smith as senior professionals at the club.

The eight teenage academy graduates who will be part of the first-team squad are Bradley Lashley, Camron McWilliams, Jay Williams, Ryan Hughes, Sean Whaler, Morgan Roberts, Scott Pollock and Jack Newell.