United manager Keith Curle on signings, pre-season and staffing
Manager Keith Curle spoke to the media at the club’s press invite training session on Monday morning about pre-season and the activity carried out during the summer months.
“The first day of pre-season is always exciting,” he said. “You start to get the vibe from the group and I think it's important for us to embrace that and get the players to enjoy it. Asking the new players to introduce themselves at the first team meeting takes them out of their comfort zone and it gives them the chance to tell the rest of the group what they want to bring to the team.
“In my opening team talk with the players and staff this morning [Thursday] I said that as far as last season is concerned it was job done. I came in with a remit, which we were successful with, so we now move on with a clean slate. Within that I am going to be more demanding of the players because finishing above where we finished last season isn't enough for me. If I'm able to get the squad I think is needed we will be a very competitive team this year.”
On the buzz of getting back to work, he said: “I get frustrated when you get a period of seven or eight weeks without football. It does my head in.
“Saturdays and Tuesdays are what I come to work for. I’m not a huge fan of pre-season because I don’t get to do too much of my work. It’s where the coaches and medical department take over. This is their time and mine comes once we get into the games.
“This period is about getting ready for the first weekend of the new season. I’m a big believer that if you want to get fit for football, you have to play football. It’s not an easy pre-season by any means, but it will be enjoyable.
“We’re trying to create an environment here where players enjoy working hard. If you can get that type of mentality you start to see it becomes very easy for players to express themselves. It’s about getting rid of the fear factor that comes when things are being done slightly differently.
“I expect to see smiling faces because I want to work in a happy environment. That comes down to us making this a place where players want to come to express themselves and be part of something good.”
And on the recruitment of new blood, he said: “I'm very happy with the recruitment we've done so far. I'd probably call most of them our foundation players. I've noticed people asking where the flair players are, but they are coming.
“We’ve got goals in the team, but I’m aware there are areas on the pitch we still need to strengthen. All good teams are built on a foundation and I think you can see from the fact we've conceded over 70 goals in the last two seasons that the foundation is important.”
“Most of the deals we've agreed with the new players give them the option to earn a second year,” he explained. “They've all got incentives within the contracts. There are some personal incentives and some based on the team performance. It's a safeguard for the football club as well because if players come here and don't perform, or don't fit, they can move on and it's at no expense to the club.
“I'd like to add more players. I'm looking at two wide players, but I’m aware of the number of players I've got and the numbers I want. We want a close knit squad with players who perform on a regular basis.
“I'm looking to try and get two players and a member of staff in on Monday. That would be ideal, but I'm prepared to wait so we get the right people in. We've gone through the negotiation stage on two occasions. Colin West, Lee Dykes and I have been meeting players and agents all over the country. The players have been up to Carlisle on two occasions so they've got a good feel for the city. It's just a case of making sure all parties are happy.”
“Certain pieces of the jigsaw need to fall into place before I'll be able to bring in another member of coaching staff,” he explained. “Simon Tracey was brought in because of his professionalism. He's a character and he's someone I liked to play in front of. He's got good attention to detail and I think he will improve the goalkeepers we've got at this club.
“The other coach I’m looking to bring in is going to be directly involved as a development coach as well as with the first team. That will bridge the gap and create a link between the emerging youth team players and the other players within the squad.
“He’ll also help with specific areas, if we want to work on defending or attacking, for example, so it’s about having the right hands on deck. There’s a need for development at the club in all areas and that’s why we’ll be bringing him in.
“We’ll also have an influx of trial players on Monday. They’ll work with us, and get some game time the following week, and we’ll take it from there. These are players who have been identified by Lee Dykes who are hoping to come and integrate themselves within the group. They’ll get that two week period to come and showcase themselves and have a look at us, as we have a look at them.”
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