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MANAGER: We have options

26 February 2015

Manager Keith Curle on injuries and self governance

Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about the injury situation ahead of the weekend and about the need for a self-governing dressing room.

“The squad is looking a little bit battered and bruised at the moment,” he said. “There’s been a few knocks picked up in training to add to things, but we’re hopeful we will have a strong complement of players available for the weekend.

“There are three players where we are waiting for scan results from injuries picked up in last week’s game, or from injuries picked up this week. That obviously is a concern but we need to wait for the results to give us a clearer idea of where we are.

“Gary Dicker and Billy Paynter still haven’t had pitch time yet so they aren’t available for selection at the moment, purely for reasons of football fitness.” 

“I've got a dilemma at the moment with Troy [Archibald-Henville] because of his inability to play Saturday-Tuesday games,” he added. “However, I've got a feeling I might be able to get Troy to play Tuesday-Saturday. 

“The easy thing to say is to pick your best team for the next game, but I'm very mindful of the fact we've then got two winnable games on our own patch. I can either play Troy on Saturday, which would guarantee he wouldn't play on Tuesday, or keep him ticking over and continue with him on the personal programme he's got. 

“Under myself, Lee Fearn and Neil Dalton, he has played the most games he's ever played in a season, and we've still got more games for him to play. We’re managing the situation as well as we can because, as we keep saying, we’re governed by Troy. 

“The frustrating bit is that we don't know until the morning. We can plan a training session then Troy will come in and tell us he can't train, so that gets ripped up. There is a level of frustration there but we know we're getting the maximum out of Troy, with regards to the number of games he's playing, so we’re doing something right.”  

“Nathan Buddle and Paul Thirlwell are both options we’ve been toying with,” he commented. “We've also looked at a change in shape and a change in formation. All shapes and formations have their own strengths and weaknesses, and we're trying to find which one suits us best at the moment. 

“We’re still trying to add to the group and that’s ongoing. The midfield player we were looking at has subsequently got back in and around his team and has done very well. We’re still pursuing a left-sided wide player to give us a little bit of balance in the wider areas. 

“He’s just returned from injury, but he’s close to being back and involved with reserve games for his parent club, so we’re waiting to find out from them where he’s at.

“We do have a few targets of interest and we’re scouring our contacts, because I know what we’re looking for. Sometimes the players we’re looking at get back in their own teams, or we’re trying to tempt them away from clubs at a higher level. It’s not easy, but we’ll keep working hard to get the right people in.”

“Going the other way, I haven’t closed the door on any career at this club,” he said. “Some players have chosen to leave and further their careers elsewhere, and even when I’ve put players on transfer lists they’ve always been told that their career here is not over, unless they deem it to be over. 

“The players are still paid employees and, because of that, they’re expected to adhere to the guidelines of the club with regard to training, appearances and general conduct. We had the suspended players in yesterday looking at the situation with Danny Grainger and Mark Beck with regards to their individual fines. 

“They've talked about what they think the appropriate fines should be, because those players are now unavailable. Some players are quite lenient – and others would like to fine a bit too much – so I'm there as a mediator. 

“The fines are in place as a deterrent and we’re trying to be self-governing, because we don't just want to take money off the players. It needs to be a learning curve. You can't come on then get sent off, because you then can't play for three games.

“I also went through Danny Grainger's ten bookings yesterday. The majority of tackles are on players who haven't even had to go off for treatment, so they’re potentially needless. If you're playing against a winger who needs a nudge in the right direction you can take a booking for the team, but dissent, mistimed tackles and tackles you shouldn't have had to make will only end up costing us.”

“It's a learning culture we’re trying to create within the dressing room,” he continued. “You won't see me standing at the door checking the players are in on time, but the guidelines are there and the changing room governs itself. That comes with responsibility and respect for each other."

United Player subscribers can see a series of video interviews with Keith Curle now. Click HERE to go to the Player platform. Follow the same link for more information on United Player, and to subscribe.

Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.

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