Keith Curle has put the resurgence of Milton Keynes Dons goal machine Chuks Aneke down to the coaching and management skills of his new boss Paul Tisdale.
And the Cobblers boss says he is hoping to get a similar reaction from his own players as he properly settles into his role at the PTS Academy Stadium.
Aneke has scored seven times in eight games since being restored to the MK side in September, the former Arsenal trainee having made little secret of the fact that he wanted to leave the club in the summer.
A move away didn’t happen though, and the 25-year-old has got his head down and proved to be the main man for Tisdale, who only joined the club in the summer after leaving Exeter City, where he had been in charge for 12 years.
A powerful frontrunner, Aneke has always had massive potential, but it seems Tisdale has quickly found the formula for bringing that to the fore, with the player well on the way to going past his previous best goal haul for a full season ( 16 for Crewe in 2013/14).
Asked about Aneke, Curle said: “He is playing well, and has had a resurgence in recent weeks.
“He has always been a big, quick, powerful and strong boy, and now I he is getting the understanding, and is getting the accolades.
“He is now putting the icing on the cake and is finishing well, scoring goals, and being a threat.”
And he added: “I think he is enjoying his football and that is no surprise to me when you get a manager who has a studious approach to the game, introducing enjoyment into the group, and into the work ethic as well.
“That is where you get an environment where footballers are happy, and we are not dissimilar.
“We’ve had to have a microwace session where we try and put six or seven months work into two or three weeks, but ultimately we want players going out there knowing their roles, knowing their responsibilities, and enjoying the fundamentals and the simplicity of what we are trying to get them to do.”
One Cobblers player who has seemingly quickly reacted to what Curle expects is Billy Waters.
Brought to the club as a striker in the summer of 2017, the 24-year-old has found opportunities in his favoured position limited.
He has mainly been utilised as a wide player with no great impact, but under Curle he has started the past two games at wing-back, and has enjoyed good games as the team has secured back-to-back wins.
Curle is delighted with Waters’ efforts so far, and says he will continue to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the players he has inherited, and utlilise them where he feels they will have the most impact.
“A lot of players have come in and done well, not just Billy,” said the Cobblers boss.
“Billy is getting an understanding of the role, the same as David Buchanan on the other side, the same as Shaun McWilliams, who has also played wing-back.
“There are still other players, other possibilities, and other dimensions within that changing room that still have to come to the fore.
“I am prepared to be brave, and I will explore avenues that I think can maximise the output of the team. If there is a niche to be had, I will grab it.”