Manager Keith Curle spoke to us ahead of the trip to Deepdale to host Notts County on Saturday afternoon.
“We see Saturday as an opportunity to go and play at a fantastic stadium,” he said. “It has a good playing surface and it’s something that’s slightly different for everyone. The focus this week has been to make sure the players don’t get distracted by the fact it’s a change of environment.
“Ultimately it’s another game of football and nothing changes in the way we prepare. The minimum we expect from the players is the same level of commitment they’ve been giving us to take us to where we are now.”
“There’s a game plan we’ll use which we think will cause Notts County problems,” he continued. “They like to score a lot of goals but they do also concede a few as well. From a neutral point of view Deepdale should be a good place to be in terms of taking in a game that should have some excitement in it.
“We have detailed reports on the last three or four games Notts County have played and we have good awareness of their strengths. We’re playing with a lot of confidence and that comes from doing the right things at the right times, repeatedly.”
“It is a strange period for the football club, with the stadium being out of action due to the floods, but we’re going to head into every game as if it’s a new challenge,” he explained. “It doesn’t matter to us where we play. We want points and we want to entertain as much as possible.
“We’ve managed to bring people on board with what we’re doing through the first half of the season because they have all seen improvement and a real desire to win. This is an enjoyable place to work at the moment and we want that to carry on. That will happen for us if we continue to see committed performances.”
“My message to the fans ahead of this weekend is simply a massive thank you,” he said. “They’ve shown us a level of commitment even though a lot of them are dealing with some unbelievable things. I took a walk into town on Thursday and the amount of people who came over to wish the club well was phenomenal.
“Those who had been involved personally in the floods told me what had happened to them - and some of them had also experienced it ten years ago. All they wanted to do was talk about football. They’re happy that the football club is embracing the local community and it’s very touching when you listen to people who are facing real difficulties, and all they want to do when they see you is tell you how proud they are of their players.
“As I say, having heard that, the minimum requirement from us now is to go out and give a professional performance. That’s what this city needs at the moment.
“We have almost a full squad to choose from going into the game and that’s a nice position to be in. Hallam [Hope] is getting close to full time training again and both clubs, Carlisle and Bury, are working together to get him back up to fitness. He isn’t field-based training yet but, with more treatment, he shouldn’t be too far away.”
“Looking ahead to the January transfer window, he said: “Improving the football squad is an ongoing process. That won’t change as long as I’m here. We’re always looking for players who will bring something different, or add to what we already have.
“Our training sessions are geared to getting improvement out of the players we work with every day. If that was ever to change it would mean we’ve either won the Premier League or the European Cup, or it’s time to move on because the football club can’t match the ambition.”
“The players we’re looking at belong to other football clubs at the moment and they’re under contract,” he commented. “All we can do is make offers we think are suitable and justifiabl, but we won’t get chased down avenues we don’t think we can pursue.
“We have three vacancies I think we need to fill and we’ve identified numerous amounts of players who we feel fit the criteria. We certainly wouldn’t put all of our eggs in one basket for just three players because we will always look at a range of options of who we think can help us to move on from where we’re at.
“There have been tentative communications with other clubs and we’re mindful of the fact that they may need to do their business before we’re able to do ours. We’ll keep the lines of communication open and we’ll see where it takes us.”