MANAGER: A squad coming up to speed

Manager Keith Curle on what was never going to be an easy job

Manager Keith Curle spoke more today about team selection as the preparations for the away trip to Southend continue.

“If I was happy that we were getting consistent performances from the eleven players picked then I think everyone would understand that we wouldn’t be where we are right now,” he said. “We’re not performing on a consistent basis, so things do need to change week in, sometimes week out. 

“We’ve got a squad of players which is coming up to speed but I will always make my selections based on who I think is best for the job at the time. 

“I have a squad of 24 or 25 players who are at different levels of physical fitness, mental fitness and physical conditioning. Not all of them are ready to play a full 90 minutes, and it obviously needs thinking about if I don’t think they’re ready to go out and last a minimum of 75 minutes. That’s the reason why we do the extra conditioning sessions. The game lasts for 90 minutes and every player needs to be ready to handle that.”

“Those players who aren’t getting game time know they need to be conditioned correctly,” he added. “As part of the professional lifestyle they know their training schedule will be different to those who are performing on the coal face, so to speak. 

“The strength and conditioning work has to be different so you can get them in the right physical shape so they’re able to take the opportunity if it comes along.”

“Billy Paynter and Gary Dicker are both getting close,” he said. “They’re back to field based training and it doesn’t matter what you do in the gym, it doesn’t replicate the work you do out on the training pitch. 

“Billy’s last competitive game was when we played Burnley U21s here at Brunton Park, but he didn’t get involved in the last two friendly games we had. I think, for their own minds, they both need a competitive game, and that’s something we’re looking to organise.”

“I knew this job was never going to be simple,” he commented. “Even if we win two or three in a row, we’re still on a learning curve. We’ve given some good teams a run for their money but we still have a naivety about us in the way we’re doing things. 

“There are positive stories within the games we’ve just played, but I’m very mindful of the fact it is still three defeats. My job is to make sure that doesn’t impact badly on the changing room. I know we can get results when we need them, we’ve seen that before, but we need that to happen again.”

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