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MANAGER: The players will be in good spirits

19 March 2015

Keith Curle with an injury and loan signings update

Manager Keith Curle gave us an injury update at his Thursday morning press conference.

“Courtney [Meppen-Walter] has a grade two tear to his adductor muscle,” he said. “He’ll be assessed on a week by week basis, and how quickly it heals will be down to the recovery work he does. He’s a young man so hopefully he’ll recover quickly. 

“The type of thing we’re trying to get into him now is that he has to keep working even though he’s injured. There’s a lot he can still do and the pleasing thing is that he’s keeping busy with it.”

“Mark [Gillespie] is back in full training and he had his last appointment in Dublin on Wednesday,” he added. “They were very happy with him. I’d expect him to be ready for selection next week. Dan [Hanford] has seized his opportunity and that’s exactly the type of headache I want. We need players to be pushing each other all over the pitch.”

“Brad [Potts] has two stitches in a leg wound he picked up on Tuesday night, but he’s fine with that,” he continued. “He was nursing a slight tightness in his hamstring but that has also settled. 

“Danny Kearns has returned to full training this week. He joined in the training session on Monday and he’s been ticked off now to resume full training. Troy [Archibald-Henville] is available and, as usual, we are led by him as to when he can train and how much he can do.

“Antony Sweeney was with his surgeon last week and he’s been prescribed a course of treatment. He’ll be reviewed in two to three weeks, to look at his progress, and he’ll be advised from there.” 

On the continuing efforts to add to the squad, he said: “We’re waiting on a phone call but you do find that Championship clubs aren’t always as quick at returning calls as clubs at League Two level are. 

“We have two potential signings in the pipeline but we’re waiting for the go ahead on those. I’m pleased we do things the right way here. We’re at the stage of speaking to the football clubs to gain permission to find out when the players will be available. 

“Once we get that box ticked we will move on to speaking to the players. That’s the opportunity for us to sell ourselves and hopefully get them here. We’re looking at two potential targets for two different positions.

“The left sided player we were after chose to go somewhere else earlier in the week. He’s joined that club on the proviso he will get a deal going forward. It was Lee Holmes, and we feel he would have added something, if we’d managed to get him, but we move on. 

“We spoke to him, Simon Grayson and Peter Ridsdale and he told us about the interest he’d had from Exeter. There’s no animosity from me on that. I made a phone call to wish him well and to tell him I hope he’s made the right choice.”

Looking back at the Northampton game, he said: “The positive thing from Tuesday was that we did our jobs. Whatever other teams do, it’s important for us that the focus is on what we’re doing at all times.

“I’ve spoken a lot recently about us being brave and wanting to get on the ball. Tuesday was a night where I had to be brave and make decisions, and that resulted with a change in shape and formation. That shows I’m prepared to do the things I think are right and necessary. 

“It wasn’t an easy thing for me to do because I like playing two up front, especially away from home. That slows the tempo down when we have the ball and it allows us to put the opposition under pressure. I felt we needed that tactical switch so we could have the threat of real pace with Derek Asamoah. We felt we had other personnel who suited what we wanted to achieve to play around that.”

“The players will be in good spirits today, I have no doubt about that,” he commented. “They’ll come bouncing into the room for the video analysis knowing there are lots of plusses from what they did. We want to have that kind of atmosphere because even when we get negative results, there are positives to look for. On a whole the analysis sessions we do are a fantastic learning tool.”

“I had a meeting with the lads before the York game and I told them the squad, in its entirety, would be used before the end of the season,” he told us. “The important thing from that is not just the mental attitude of the starting eleven, but also of the players who don’t feature. 

“When I was making my selection for the York game I had one eye on what I wanted to do for Northampton. Derek [Asamoah] didn’t even make the 18 on Saturday, but he started on Tuesday. That shows there’s a message in everything I say to them. 

“If a player goes away in a bad frame of mind on the Saturday, because they haven’t been picked, they could then bring that into the Monday morning. That’s when they find it very difficult to adjust when they find out they’re starting on Tuesday night. 

“I keep telling them not to get off the bus. Players are left out of the side for a variation of reasons and, if they come and see me, I’ll tell them why. Around that they have to stay in focus because they can be back in the team at the drop of a hat.”

On the news revealed earlier this week that the manager’s current contract is linked to maintaining Football League status, he said: “None of that is a distraction for me. I’ve known that clause was in there right from day one. 

“It doesn’t change my mindset or decision making process one bit. There won’t be any change in attitude towards me from staff, players or supporters. I can tell you now that decisions aren’t based on the length of my contract. They’re based on the betterment of this football club.

“It’s a very simple contract and it’s one of the things which attracted me to this club. It was explained that the football department at this club belongs to me. I am being allowed to run it how I want to run it. I’ve been told to get us results and performances to keep us in this division.

“If I’m unsuccessful, and deemed to have failed, the contract gets terminated. I’m happy with that for both parties because if I come in here and don’t do my job then that termination clause is there. Rightly so, because why would you continue with something which isn’t working?”

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.

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