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MANAGER: We know where we want to strengthen

12 March 2015

Keith Curle on Jason Kennedy, more loan signings and an injury update

Manager Keith Curle spoke to us today about new arrival Jason Kennedy and the ongoing hunt to add more competition for places.

“Jason is a midfield player with great ability,” he said. “He’s got a good understanding of the game and he knows his role as a midfielder. 

“He needs games and he wants games, and that’s a pleasing thing to know. When I made the phone call to speak to Phil Parkinson, after being given permission to speak to him, I was able to talk about what I was looking for. His reply was to tell me he ticks every one of the boxes I mentioned. 

“He’s been very unlucky at Bradford and it’s probably because of their success in cup competitions that they’ve been able to bolster their squad. That has meant he hasn’t been able to play as much as he would have wanted.” 

“We’ve given him the opportunity to come here and do that with us,” he added. “It’s a little bit different for him in how we want him to play, and I’m sure everyone will have seen the pitch over there. Our training ground was a breath of fresh air to him, with plenty of grass on it, and I’m sure he’ll enjoy it here.

“He’s not a shouter, a screamer or an organiser, but we’ve already got people who can do that. He’ll help us to get the ball into good areas. He’s a natural midfield player so he’ll land on second balls. I think he’ll get us playing and help us to stop the opposition as well.”

“He’s in for 28 days and that takes him through the end of the loan window,” he explained. “That means he can’t go anywhere else. So, if he does well, it gives us an option to extend it until the end of the season. He’s come with the proviso that he can stay until May and I think he wants to do that.”

“We’ve been working very hard on trying to get other players through the door as well,” he revealed. “Every other phone call I’ve made has been to John Nixon for over a week now. The pleasing thing is he’s always been there to answer and he’s chased up the leads for me. 

“There’s been a level of frustration there because we’d identified five players we could potentially bring into this football club. At the moment we’ve only got one of them across the line.

“We’re waiting for a phone call to see if we can get a second one over the line ahead of the weekend. We’ve identified players we think will add to our squad, and we know we need to make that improvement because we’re fourth from bottom of the league.”

“As I say, we know what we want and how we want to strengthen,” he said. “We’re looking for a left sided player so we can exploit that wing if we can’t get down the right with David Amoo. We’ve also looked this week at how David can get down the left hand side if that’s where we decide the opposition weakness is.

“Not many teams would relish doubling up on both sides so we want to look to get into wide areas quicker and with more purpose. We’re very close to getting a wide man in but, until the ink is actually dry, it’s probably better not to say too much.”

“We’re not in a situation where we need to panic,” he insisted. “We’re not just going to get anyone in the building for the sake of it. We’re doing our due diligence to make sure we’re targeting the right people, but we’ve had disappointment in some areas. We’ve got to the stage of having agreement between clubs and the finances have been done. The last thing is to then speak to the players. 

“Sometimes we haven’t even been able to get close to the players and we’ve had to deal with their agents or representatives. They’ve given us a ‘no’ answer because they find out the player doesn’t really want to come to Carlisle. That can be because they see themselves as still playing at a higher level, or because they look at where we are location wise. They simply don’t want to come this far north for a loan spell.” 

“It’s an ongoing process and we’ll keep at it until the window closes,” he told us. “Lee Dykes has been working 20 hour days and we’ve all been following up on leads and also creating leads. Once we’ve done that we take it to John [Nixon] and he finds out the financial availability of the player. 

“Some of the players we’re trying to attract are on very good money. As a norm, we wouldn’t be able to afford them but, because of the work John is doing, we’re trying to get them down into our bracket.”

And on the injury situation, he said: “Things are looking much more positive on the injury front. It does filter through that you’ve signed a player and that you’re looking at others, so some of the people who might have had a rest day suddenly think they have to train and give it a go. 

“The training ground has been very busy with lots of players on it. It’s competition for places, which is excellent and exactly what we need. I want my job to be as difficult as possible. 

“Brad Potts and Antony Sweeney trained today. Danny Kearns is in the last stages of his rehabilitation. I don’t think he’ll be available for Saturday, but he might be touch and go for Tuesday. That depends how much football we can get into him but hopefully, by next Saturday, we’ll have a full complement. 

“Gary Dicker is injury free now and, as far as I’m concerned, a line has been drawn in the sand with the situation and we’ve moved on. I think if you speak to Gary and Billy Paynter they will tell you they need matches. We’re trying to organise that for them and we had an in-house game on Tuesday, which gave everybody a good hour. What they haven’t had is 90 minutes of the really competitive stuff.
“We’ve got the Cumberland Cup and a number of first team players will be playing in that, just to give them that 90 minute threshold. They’re training every day but you can’t beat playing in a game. So, yes, they are injury free but they aren’t at the match fitness levels they would like to be at just yet.”

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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