Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about Saturday’s relatively short trip to Hartlepool following Tuesday’s high point of the season so far at Loftus Road.
“Hartlepool have made an excellent start,” he said. “I have massive respect for what Ronnie [Moore] did when he went into the club and turned their fortunes round last season.
“The game in May showed the best and worst of both clubs. It probably identified the heartache both of us have gone through, as managers, with the way our teams played. There was some excellent football and there was other stuff that wasn’t so good.”
“I’ve still also got the fantastic memories of when I first came to the club,” he added. “It was my first visit there as Carlisle manager and we came away with an excellent result.
“We’ve got a lot of boxes we still need to tick this season. The first league win and the first league away win are two of those boxes. We’re well aware we’re a work in progress but this is a squad we completely rebuilt through the summer.
“They’re still getting to know each other and we’re still finding out what they can do. We’re looking to push the limits of what we’re trying to achieve this season, as we did at Cassius Camps in pre-season, and we’re going to keep doing that week in and week out now.”
On making sure the squad remains grounded following the Capital One Cup third round draw which will take them to Liverpool next month, he said: “The mentality we have at this club is that the next game is the one we focus on. Nobody has talked about Liverpool at all today.
“We haven’t talked about the QPR game either. It’s done, it’s gone, and we move on very quickly. Our minds are now completely and utterly on Hartlepool. We’ve got a bank of games coming up where every single one of them will need our full attention. Our planning, preparation and attention to detail will be the same for all of them.
“I think we can definitely replicate the standard of performance we got on Tuesday at Hartlepool. We look at every game on its merits and we look at the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition. We’ll give Hartlepool the respect they deserve but we got there to get three points.”
Speaking about the near 1,000 strong travelling Blue Army expected to make the trip across to the north east tomorrow, he said: “The loyalty doesn’t surprise me at all. The vocal support we had on Tuesday was exceptional. When all you can hear is our supporters it tells you you’re doing something right.
“It’ll be a good atmosphere on Saturday and, with games like this, it’s not so much a physical thing. It’s how you are challenged mentally and how you deal with it. We’ll see two teams full of confidence and the important thing is that we go out, play the game our way and make sure we don’t get mixed up too much in the occasion.”
“With the way we’re playing wins are coming,” he commented. “I think when it does come they will start to come in abundance. We need to embrace the success we’ve had this week but we don’t let the tail wag the dog. It’s back to league football and that’s our jobs. We have to make sure we do it properly.
“We like putting smiles on faces and we want an environment where everyone is saying well done. People are talking positively about the team when you walk round the city and they feel it’s a style of football which represents them. That’s all you can ask for.”
On the injury situation, he said: “Charlie [Wyke] will be out for a period of time. He hurt his foot in a training ground accident which happened on the Tuesday morning ahead of the game. That was disappointing but it shows the competitive nature of what we do.
“We train how we play so you will get knocks every now and then. Charlie has fractured his fifth metatarsal and there’s no timeframe as yet on when he’ll be ready to go again. The good thing is we have strength in depth to cope with it. We have four people who can play as attack minded players within the formation we’re happy with.
“The others are all in good condition. Danny Grainger is fine, he trained with us today, and Kevin Osei was with us as well. Dean Leacock is getting fitter every day and we’ll organise a bounce game for him as soon as we get through this busy period.”
And on activity expected ahead of the Tuesday closure of the transfer window, he said: “I’m still finding out about our squad. A lot of questions still need to be asked and there are a lot of scenarios I still think will happen.
“Ideally I want answers for them before I start looking for additions to the squad. I don’t think we have any glaring weaknesses in our squad and that’s testament to the work that was done through the summer.
“We do have targets we are making inroads on, which might transpire over the weekend, but there’s no mad rush. We won’t be making any rash decisions. We’re down to two targets now because one of the players we were looking at, from a higher division, is now playing for his club. Most players want to play at the highest level they possibly can so that might be something we revisit later on.
“I received a phone call this morning asking about one of our players. That was from a football club in our division, asking for a potential loan deal. They put a recommendation on what they would like to contribute and it was too short of what I think we need to recoup for the player. It was too far away for me to enter into a conversation.”