Manager Keith Curle has outlined his reasons for taking off key midfielder Alan McCormack just before Oldham came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with his side during Saturday’s League Two clash.
McCormack was enjoying another fine game in midfield and had been influential in Town leading 1-0 at the time of his substition, withdrawn for Michael Harriman with 10 minutes to go.
Andy Williams’ exquisite finish doubled the advantage within 90 seconds, however the Cobblers conspired to throw away another 2-0 lead as Oldham scored twice in the final five minutes.
Some supporters were critical of the decision to replace McCormack but Curle defended his decision afterwards, citing the 35-year-old’s fitness troubles in recent seasons.
“I’ve got a plan for Macca,” he said. “His previous fitness record has been well-documented and we’ve experienced it first-hand with the amount of games that he’s missed for us.
“The important thing is I need to rack up performances and rack up appearances for Macca and he fully understands that.”
McCormack, who missed two months with a hamstring issue at the start of the season, was visibly frustrated to come off at Boundary Park but Curle had an eye on the bigger picture when making his decision.
He added: “If you give Macca the choice he’d play every game for 90 minutes - he’d play reserve games, he’d play first-team games, charity games, testimonials, anything where he can go out and play football.
“He always wants to get out there and play and he wants to play 90, 95 minutes and I know that, but likewise there’s respect between myself and Macca that I make decisions that in my mind are best for him.
“Sometimes, he’s not going to like it and I fully understand that but just because a player wants to stay on the pitch it’s not going to change my mind.
“I’ve got a decision-making process and I need Alan McCormack available for games.”