Keith Curle with reaction to the Bradford City game
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the away friendly fixture at Bradford City on Saturday afternoon.
“I’m very happy with the performance from the lads today,” he said. “We knew it was going to be a test, which it was, and it was a game played at the right tempo against good opposition.
“They showed they could handle the ball, move us around and cause us problems. The pleasing thing is that we caused them some problems as well. We had a couple of good opportunities where we didn’t get the ideal strike, but we got into good areas and we worked hard.
“There are things for us to work on defensively, and from an attacking point of view, but that’s what these games are for. We’ve stepped up the level of opposition and we’re going to get asked a few questions. However, overall we come away feeling very pleased.”
“We’re using the three games this week to work on the tactical side of it all,” he explained. “I’m very mindful of the fact the players have been through a physical and mental test this week and it was down to how quickly they could get themselves going.
“It took five or ten minutes for them to work their way into the game but they then started to get to grips with the distances and shape. The good thing for me is that I know we have options with the squad we’ve assembled. That’s not just with personnel, but with formations as well.
“We’re working within a team framework with everything we do at the moment and our focus is on getting a team which enjoys having possession of the football. Following that we need to have direction in our play and we then need to understand the roles and responsibilities of our attacking play to help us to do the job of putting the ball in the back of the net.”
“Mark [Gillespie] won’t be happy with the goal he conceded because he’ll feel he should have saved it,” he commented. “Same with their second one, from the set piece.
“We should have dealt with that better and I’ll be disappointed if we do any of that type of thing again once we get into the season. Like I say, we have things to work on and that’s why we like to have this type of game.”
“We’re always going to experiment in friendly games because I want to see a squad that is able to adapt to different situations,” he told us. “We’re trying to make sure we can be a little bit flexible in our play so that we don’t become predictable.
“I want rotation and players who can do what’s needed when they do and don’t have the ball. It’s about being an attacking team which can keep the back door shut as well. There are a lot of systems we can use and the fans can look forward to seeing all of them throughout this season, I guarantee it.”
On the departure of Mark Beck, he said: “I think the move to Yeovil was a fantastic opportunity for him. The game time he would have got here was not going to suit his development.
“He’s been given a little bit of security with a two year deal and I think the change of scenery is just what he needs right now, to help him to maintain his push to get to the higher leagues.”
“I’m happy with where I am with the squad at the moment,” he insisted. “I feel I do need additions to the squad and the good thing for me is that isn’t all about having a budget. It’s about knowing money is available.
“The club have told me money is available to spend but I don’t want to rush into anything. A few pieces of the jigsaw remain to be found but the building of this squad will continue right up to Christmas time.
“You never shut the door on players coming in and there could also still be movement the other way if, in my opinion, they’re not going to get the game time they want. There’s no need to hurry so I’ll take my time and make sure I do what’s right for the team and for the club.”
On the absence of Danny Grainger, he said: “We don’t think it’s anything too serious. He should be available for next Saturday. He rolled his ankle slightly and if this had been a league game I think he would have insisted on playing.
“With it being just a friendly we’re better off making sure that settles down so we have a full complement of players available for the first game in August.”
“We’ll make a decision on the trialists after Tuesday’s game,” he said. “Kevin Osei has been travelling back and forward so he hasn’t been able to do full sessions. It was good to get him some time and it’s the same with Joe Thompson as well.
“I’ll try and have a longer look at both of those lads against Preston and I’ll give them an answer after that.
“With Nicky Walker, he came in and had a trial with us and he was then offered an opportunity, during that, to come to Bradford and have a trial here. We didn’t stand in his way and I don’t know at this moment in time how well that went for him.
“Until I find that out I can’t say whether or not we’ll be able to have another look at him because he did well in training and in the games he played when he was up in Carlisle with us.”