Keith Curle on injuries, loan moves and contract talksManager Keith Curle gave us a squad update at his Thursday morning press conference.
“We’ve got a clean bill of health apart from Courtney Meppen-Walter, who has picked up a virus,” he said. “He's been given time off so he doesn't spread that round the rest of the group.
“Jabo [Ibehre] is getting closer but he isn't quite firing on all cylinders. That’s to be expected because he's spent a period of time on the sidelines. He's desperate to get back but we're protecting him as he increases the demands on himself.
“I think Jabo realises that the way we're performing means he needs to be able to give 100% effort and commitment. What he can't afford to do, and what he won't be asked to do, is play at 95% where he isn’t able to do everything he would usually do.
“He needs to do that in training, which he hasn't yet done, and get himself completely up to speed. He's working his socks off, he'll train on Thursday and Friday and we'll then make a decision on whether he comes with us to Plymouth.
“With a player like him if he isn't fit to start then he won't be considered for the bench. For him to be in the reckoning at all it will mean he's available at 100%, and that's out of respect for the squad we've got. If you're on the bench you might have to go on and play 90 minutes, if somebody gets injured, so you have to be ready to do that.”
“Angelo [Balanta] is slightly ahead of Jabo in his progression,” he confirmed. “He's got two training sessions - today and tomorrow - to try and get himself into the 18. It doesn't matter which player it is, when you're fit and available it doesn't automatically mean you'll get straight back into the team.
“That's a sign of the strength we've got in the team. Luke Joyce will have to get back in when he has completed his suspension and, as we saw, Tom Miller was suspended and he was unable to get a starting place straight away.
“Hallam [Hope] has integrated himself into the group very well. There's a lot more to come from him and the turn and the shot we saw on Saturday is a slight indication of what I think he can bring. The longer he stays with us the more we'll see the potential I think he has.”
On the interest shown in possible loan moves for members of the United squad, he said: “We had a request for one of the players to go out to the Conference this week.
“That was rejected by the player and his representative. It was a player who needs games, he knows that, but he didn't feel it was the right move for him.”
And on his own contract talks, he said: “I'm always confident that a positive outcome can be reached with every contract conversation. There are ongoing discussions and I’m comfortable with that.
“I tell every player I sign not to commit until they're 100% happy that everything is in place. That's the stage I'm at with the football club at the moment. Both parties have got to be happy with the commitment from either side.
“The individual and collective vision is important. There's no point saying I want to be managing in the Championship in a period of time if it isn't realistic that the football club can get there.
“Everything has to be right. That's credit to the football club that they want to make sure the vision they have in place can be enhanced by their manager. There's no need to shy away from the fact that neither party will sign anything if it isn’t completely right for both parties involved.”