Curle to field ‘strong team’ for Checkatrade Trophy clash

Keith Curle with Cobblers youngster Jay Williams
Keith Curle with Cobblers youngster Jay Williams

Keith Curle plans to field a ‘strong team’ for tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy clash at Cambridge United as the Cobblers look to end their four-game winless run.

Defeats to Newport County and Lincoln City have come either side of draws with Exeter and Grimsby, but Tuesday’s visit to the Abbey Stadium presents an opportunity to return to the winning trail and progress to the next round.

And while the Checkatrade Trophy usually sees managers make wholesale changes to protect key first-team players, Curle seems unlikely to follow suit judging by his previous selections in this competition - and his pre-match sentiments.

“I’ll be looking to field a strong side,” he confirmed. “We have a very competitive squad and people are coming back from injury.

“Some players haven’t had much game-time and this potentially could be an opportunity for them to stake a claim and get some minutes.

“Ultimately, we have a strong squad and we will field a strong team.”

Cambridge, struggling down in 21st in League Two, are yet to name a new manager after sacking Joe Dunne, who lost his job last week after a 2-0 defeat to Crewe Alexandra, so Mark Bonner will take caretaker charge.

But the U’s have enjoyed better fortunes in the Checkatrade Trophy, finishing ahead of Southend, Colchester and Southampton U21s in the group stage to set up tonight’s home tie.

“They’ve got strengths and weaknesses,” said Curle. “They have three players - Reggie Lambe, David Amoo and Jabo Ibehre - that I’ve worked with and took up to Carlisle.

“They did very well for me when I was there so I know that, on their day, they can put in performances and cause any team problems.

“The lack of consistency led to the manager leaving but I’ve got a lot of respect for Joe. I spent time with him after games and it’s disappointing that he wasn’t able to get the run of results he needed.”