Curle provides fitness update after five miss Owls clash

Charlie Goode has yet to feature in pre-season. Picture: Pete Norton
Charlie Goode has yet to feature in pre-season. Picture: Pete Norton

Cobblers boss Keith Curle says he has no major injury concerns despite being without a number of players for Tuesday’s third pre-season friendly against Sheffield Wednesday.

While Junior Morias and Billy Waters have been made available for transfer and therefore missed out, summer signings Alan McCormack, Joe Martin, Charlie Goode and Reece Hall-Johnson, plus Sam Hoskins, were all absent for fitness reasons.

McCormack and Goode, who was confirmed as first-team captain on Tuesday, are yet to feature in pre-season while Hall-Johnson has so far managed only 45 minutes in Town’s opening friendly against Northampton Sileby Rangers.

All three missed the defeat to Championship outfit Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday, as did Hoskins and Martin, but Curle played down any long-term concerns after full-time and explained it’s simply a case of easing them back into match action.

He said: “Those players are on their return-to-game protocol which means they have to get the minutes in training.

“We’re quite stringent on that because our main aim is to have a competitive squad available for August 3 so within that, there’s a return-to-training protocol following injuries and setbacks that some of the players have had.

“They want to play games and they want to get back but they need to do the minutes on the training pitch first of all, but it’s still nice to know we have those players available and ready to come back in.”

Cobblers play their fourth pre-season friendly against Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United on Saturday, and Curle suggested he could have a couple of players back for that game.

“There are no major injury concerns,” he added. “They are all field-based training and it’s just purely a case of Tuesday’s game coming too early.

“Two of them might be available for 45 minutes on Saturday depending on whether or not there’s any reaction to their training on Wednesday or Thursday.”