Cobblers to face MK Dons in friendly as Curle tells fringe players to earn their chance

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Cobblers’ fringe players have been urged to grasp any opportunity that comes their way by manager Keith Curle ahead of a behind-closed-doors friendly against Milton Keynes Dons this week.

With a sizeable pool of players at his disposal, Curle has naturally disappointed certain members of his squad who are having to make do with a place on the bench most weeks or, in some cases, not even being selected in the matchday 18.

Andy Williams and Junior Morias are two of the more high profile examples in recent weeks, but Curle believes that, regardless of age or experience, every player has to battle it out and earn their opportunity with the first-team.

“There’s a few players sitting behind me who keep giving me a nudge saying ‘I’m still here boss, give me a chance’ but they have to earn that chance,” said the Town chief after Saturday’s win at Stevenage.

“We’ve got a game behind closed doors against MK Dons on Tuesday and that’ll be an opportunity for players. We also had an in-house game last week against the youth team who are vying for an opportunity to win a pro contract.

“So there’s a lot of competition within the squad which is what we want and what we need. It’s a healthy environment when people aren’t comfortable and when people know they have got to perform in training.”

The right environment is key to success and the environment at the minute is good and buoyant and it’s understanding that all players are needed.

Whilst Williams and Joe Powell took many of the plaudits for scoring in Saturday’s last-gasp victory at the Lamex, Curle was quick to play up the importance of his whole squad, even those who were left on the bench.

“The result today is a squad result and it’s important to say the travelling players played a massive part,” he added. “Even those who didn’t make the matchday 18 still have a big part to play in what we’re trying to do.

“The right environment is key to success and the environment at the minute is good and buoyant and it’s understanding that all players are needed.”