Keith Curle ahead of the visit of Mansfield Town
Manager Keith Curle spoke to us ahead of the visit of Mansfield Town at the weekend.
“I think this is a game both teams will be looking forward to,” he said. “It’s one where there’s nothing to be scared of. It’s an opportunity for us to go out and impose ourselves on a team which has been heading in the wrong direction in the league. That’s something they know themselves. We’re going in the right direction, so hopefully things will continue on that path.
“The only pressure I put on the players is to perform. I will look after the results so they have to make sure they are prepared mentally, physically, technically and tactically. I know they’re comfortable with that because we have a good group here. They haven’t been getting the rewards they deserve in my opinion, but that will come because the work ethic is good.”
“With the amount of games left you could probably take the bottom ten or twelve teams in the division and, within two wins, everyone is covered under that umbrella,” he commented. “If anyone thinks they’re sat in tenth or eleventh and they’re comfortable – they’re not.
“Likewise for us, if we win the next two games, does that mean our fight for survival in this division is over? No chance. There’s a lot of hard work still to do.”
“Mansfield competed well against Wycombe last week but it can take a bit of time for new players to settle and gel,” he commented. “It’s exactly the same here; you can’t turn a squad into a team overnight. They’ve had good recruitment, and they’ve brought in players we also looked at – Oliver and Ravenhill – so they will come up here to give us a game, make no mistake about that.
“I don’t think they’ll be here to play an open and expansive game. They’ll try to stay solid and they’ll focus on their strengths. They’ll get it forward early and get after it, and they’ll look for second balls to try and find openings. As we’ve found before, we’ve got to deal with it because, if we don’t, they’ll cause us problems.
“We were three down in 20 minutes when we last played them so that shows they can hurt you. We finished that game on top by playing on the front foot, and that suited us. It’s a massive game for dealing with what they’ve got to offer, and then having a look at whether or not they can deal with us.”
And on the talk of a possible demonstration at the ground on Saturday, he said: “My focus hasn’t changed from the moment this was brought to my attention. For me it’s about producing a performance the players and supporters can be proud of.
“I want people to come here to enjoy the environment and understand that the focus for the players is on retaining league status. The supporters can have a direct impact on that if they come into the stadium with a positive feel-good factor. They can’t change how the team perform but they’ve got to help us. We need them as much as they need us.”
“I’m not a fan of protests,” he told us. “I think other vehicles can be used for them to get their messages across. The club, as a club, is very open, honest and approachable and if there are factions who want to speak to representatives of the football club then I don’t see the door being shut.”
On the injury to Danny Grainger, he said: “He didn’t train on Monday or Tuesday but he’s done work with Dolly. He was ready to train today [Thursday] but the weather got in the way of that, so he’s fit and available.”
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