Forgotten man Yaser Kasim returns to Cobblers first team training

Cobblers midfielder Yaser Kasim
Cobblers midfielder Yaser Kasim

Boss Keith Curle has confirmed that forgotten man Yaser Kasim is back in training with the Cobblers first team squad, after the midfielder spent virtually the past year on the sidelines.

The Iraq international was initially frozen out of the first team picture by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink at the turn of the year, and successor Dean Austin also decided there was no place for the 27-year-old, who was signed from Swindon Town by Justin Edinburgh in the summer of 2017.

Yaser is a paid professional, and the expectation is that if he is needed and selected then we expect to give of his best

Cobblers boss Keith Curle

Since reporting back for pre-season in June, Kasim has been training with the youth team, but Curle has given the man once dubbed the ‘Iraqi Pirlo’ a chance to show what he can do, and says the player is back in contention for Town selection.

“Yaser is training with the first team,” said Curle, speaking to the media ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Oldham Athletic.

“When I came to the club he was training with the youth team, but as I have said to everybody, as and when I get the opportunity, I will have a look at them.

“So Yaser has been back training with the first team, and is now waiting for an opportunity.”

Kasim has not played for the Cobblers since November last year, when he played in the 1-0 FA Cup first round replay defeat at Scunthorpe United.

Curle is open to giving the player a chance to stake his claim for a playing return, but he revealed there has also been interest from an unnamed club in taking the the midfielder on loan.

“There has been an enquiry to take Yaser on loan, and that will be his decision, if it is right for him,” said the Town boss.

“If he feels it is right for him, and he wants the deal to go ahead, then it is a case of whether or not it is the right deal for the football club financially.

“Also, it will be a case of can I afford to let a member of the first team squad go out at this particular time? All the ducks have to be in a row for it to be right for everybody.”

Kasim has been involved in the past two Iraq national team squads, but didn’t play, so he is severely short of match practise.

But how close is the former Tottenham Hotspur trainee from putting on the claret and white again?

“Yaser is a paid professional, and the expectation is that if he is needed and selected then we expect to give of his best,” said Curle.

“That is no different to any single professional footballer, or even young scholar, at this football club.

“The expectation is that as and when required you will give your best, and in the meantime make sure you are doing everything you can to fulfil your potential.”