Keith Curle praised the mental strength of Rovers youngster Scott Wharton as he signed off a difficult week with two goals for loan club Northampton Town.

Wharton scored twice in the Cobblers’ win over Crewe Alexandra that moved them in to the League Two play-off spots.

The 22-year-old, who netted twice in the opening 18 minutes, had lost his grandfather in the week of the game and Curle says Wharton’s performance would have made his family proud.

Curle revealed that Wharton's grandfather died on the day of last week’s FA Cup win over Chippenham Town, with the news having been kept from the defender until after the game.

And in a classy touch, Curle said: "Scott's had a difficult week.

"His grandfather passed away last Sunday and his father didn't tell him before the game so he found out afterwards.

"I spoke to Scott after the game on Sunday and you could tell he was obviously disappointed but the performance he produced on Saturday, his grandfather and his family would have been very proud.

"I think it's been an important week for the young man. The goals meant a lot to him and his performance meant a lot to both him and his family."

Wharton signed a new long-term deal at Rovers before his latest loan switch to Sixfields.

The Salesbury-born youngster spent last season in the fourth tier last year, at Lincoln City and Bury, with both going on to win promotion.

He will eye a third promotion from League Two with the Cobblers where he will spend the rest of the 2019/20 campaign.

His double salvo took his tally to nine goals in 58 league starts for five clubs, while he also netted on his second start for Rovers in the EFL Cup in August 2017.

“I'm really pleased," Wharton told the Northampton Chronicle after his two goals.

"To be fair I think I've missed a few chances this season so it's about time I put one in the net.

"But we do a lot of work on set-pieces on Fridays and they worked a treat against Crewe so happy days."

Wharton’s first was a tap in from close range, with his second a perfectly executed volley from a deep free-kick.

"I didn't know whether to head it at first,” said Wharton who has started 15 of Northampton’s 18 league games so far.

“I was going go with my head initially but at the last second I went to volley it and I connected quite nicely.

"It's just one of those moments you don't think about and you just get your foot on it."