Opening day clash counts for nothing as Cobblers prepare for Lincoln FA Cup test

John-Joe O'Toole is available for selection after missing the midweek win over Fulham Under-21s through suspension
John-Joe O'Toole is available for selection after missing the midweek win over Fulham Under-21s through suspension

Keith Curle believes the season-opening encounter between the Cobblers and Lincoln City will have no bearing whatsoever on Saturday’s FA Cup first round tie between the clubs at Sincil Bank (3pm).

The Imps were 1-0 winners at the PTS Academy Stadium back on the first weekend of August, with Matt Green’s header early in the second half proving to be the difference.

It was Lincoln’s only effort on target in a game which Town totally dominated, and this week Imps boss Danny Cowley admitted the Cobblers were ‘one of the best teams we have played this season’.

The majority of the Cobblers from that game will again be involved at Sincil Bank, so does Curle feel the fact the team gave Lincoln such a scare that day will give them any sort of advantage?

“The past is the past,” said the Town boss. “The important thing now is my mindset, my mentality, and since myself and the new coaching staff have come into the building we are creating our own culture.

“What’s happened before with the previous regime, you enhance the best bits but you make your own formula, and that is what we are trying to do, and trying to create.

“We are trying to evolve into a team that can play entertaining, free-flowing, attacking football, but first and foremost we are still in the stage of putting down foundations and pillars to give us the platform to go and build on.”

And on Lincoln, he added: “We are going up against the team is at the top of our division, and you only get to be the top team on merit. They have earned that right.

“We will show Lincoln and the fixture the same respect as we would for any opposition we are playing against.

“Our attention to detail, the information we give the players and how we format that doesn’t change, and it won’t change.

“It is important we identify Lincoln’s strengths and weaknesses, but ultimately it is about the problems we can cause them to give us the advantage to go and win a game of football.

“Whether we are playing Macclesfield or Lincoln, in the league or in the cup, the information given and protocol is exactly the same.”

Curle was staying tight lipped on whether or not any of the injured players will be fit enough to feature this weekend.

John-Joe O’Toole will return after missing Tuesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy win over Fulham Under-21s through suspension, but Sam Foley is still sidelined, with the former Port Vale man still having to serve two matches of his ban.