Keith Curle on the Oxford United game and the devastating floods
Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about the Oxford United game and about the devastating floods which hit the region last weekend.
“I think there’s no better way to realign the focus of the players after a week like this than by going to play the team who are top of the league at their own ground,” he said. “With the mindset we have at the club the players are seeing it as another challenge. We’ve faced some fantastic challenges already this season and we’ve met them all head on.
“This is another opportunity for us to grow what we’re doing at this football club. Oxford are top of the league for a reason but there’s nothing for us to be scared of. They have real strengths and they’re full of confidence, and I’m sure they’ll look at the fact that we have conceded goals this season. I’m sure they’ll also have taken into account the fact that we score a good number of goals as well.”
“We’re pleased in that we have a group that won’t back away or hide from any challenges,” he added. “They treat every game in the same way. It doesn’t make any difference whether it’s a non-league team on a sloping pitch or a Premier League team in a huge stadium. Every game presents us with a chance to go out and show the progress we’re making.
“There’s been a lot going on in our region this week but the thing I have to manage right now is that first and foremost we’re professional footballers. Beside that we fully understand the responsibility we have in our local community and we were determined to help as much as we possibly could when we got back from Welling.
“The people around us are facing a real disaster with what has happened to their homes and property, and it was good for us to be able to help to get some of them over the first hurdle. The pleasing thing from our point of view is that it wasn’t done by the players for any sort of recognition. They genuinely wanted to help people who were facing a real mountain to climb.
“The outlook I have is that we are very much at the heart of our community. That doesn’t just come into play in times of crisis. It’s with appearances at local schools, play groups, football clubs and youth activities. We do that kind of thing on an almost daily basis because we know we can make a difference.”
“With the floods at the moment, now is the time for the professionals to step in and do their bit in terms of assessing damage, getting utilities and services back up and running, and getting as much back to normal as quickly as they can,” he commented.
“I was on Warwick Road earlier this week and I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like this. People’s lives were being carried out onto the street in front of them. Your heart more than goes out to them, not only because it’s Christmas, but because it will have an impact on them for many months and years to come. It’s there for us all to see every day when we drive into the city and it’s hard to comprehend the scale of the destruction until you see it first hand for yourself.
“Despite that, the community spirit has shone through and that’s been particularly heart warming. There’s a sense that this has happened and, as difficult as it is, everyone is working hard to get back on track.
“We’ve taken that same approach. As I said, we’re professional footballers and right now we have a job to do. We gave everyone a lift with the result we got last weekend and we know we can do the same again if we get a good result at Oxford.
“I’ve seen in the past that communities can be galvanised in situations like this. That’s what is happening across the region right now. One thing I do know is that Cumbrian people are hardy people. This will bring them together more than ever.
“The next part we can play in helping this situation is to make sure we’re completely focused on the job we have to do. That means we get ourselves right mentally and physically and we go out on Saturday to be competitive and to get a result.”