First team manager Keith Curle ahead of the Crawley game
Manager Keith Curle spoke to us ahead of the visit of Crawley Town on Saturday.
“We have a slightly different game plan from the one we used on Tuesday, but that’s because we treat each game on its own merits,” he explained. “Crawley have their own approach and we need to combat that first. We know we need to play through the thirds and get the ball into wide areas to try to create scoring opportunities.
“What I also know is that they will be a very competitive team as well. They’re fit and agile and they have real purpose in everything they do. It’s one where we’ll fight for every single blade of grass, and I’m sure they’ll do the same.”
“We obviously go into it with a lot of confidence,” he said. “I think one of the main things we’ve learned over the last few weeks is that we’re a threat going forward. The players have really bought into the philosophy and I think it will only help when people see that I’ve committed to an extended period with the club.
“That gives us the chance to take things even further and really get to into the meat of what we want to do. We’ve already managed to create a very competitive environment but, within that, everyone is working for each other as well.
“As I say over and over at the moment, this is a good place to be. The players have found that if they aren’t doing something right in training they get told about it in no uncertain terms. And, let’s face it, there’s no better criticism than when it comes from your peers.
“I still look back to the Accrington Stanley away game last season because I don’t want that level of disappointment anywhere near this football club ever again. That was a day we all wanted to forget and I use that experience to remind myself why I have to be as demanding as I possibly can be. The players also know they have to be the same.”
“The good thing is that we’re getting more consistent with the level of performance,” he added. “The game on Tuesday night will be one of many from this season which will stick in people’s minds. We’ve helped to give our fans a lot of good things to talk about and we want that to continue.
“We were looking at it the other day and we’ve won 17 points from positions where we’ve been behind in games. That’s a mentality and character which is growing. Obviously it would be nice to get in front and stay in front, but this is a good trait to have if you aren’t doing it that way. Every game is a challenge but we’re all fully committed to it.”
On the current absentees, he said: “We’re hoping Hallam [Hope] is only another week away and then he’ll be available for selection. We don’t want to rush him back because we want to make sure he’s ready. That’s exactly what we did with Jabo Ibehre. We know the rewards are there if we’re prepared to wait until these lads are 100% fit.
“Macaulay [Gillesphey] should be back in full training with us by the middle of next week. He’s been under a rehab programme with Newcastle but he will be released by them so he can come back to us, which is good news.”
And on the closing of the emergency loan window on Thursday evening, he said: “A few things nearly happened but we weren’t able to get them over the line.
“That shows the targets we’re going for are very close to first team football at their own clubs - and we’re talking about League One and Championship squads. We want players here who will improve us. The next month or so is about monitoring the situation with those players and, of course, others will come onto the radar along the way as well.”
“We’re still talking to Shrewsbury at the moment, above manager level, to try to get something sorted out with Mark Ellis,” he continued. “We’ll focus on the game on Saturday first and foremost with him because we have a couple of day’s grace at the start of next week to try to get it all finalised.
“He’s a player we’d like to take for as long as we possibly can and I know he’s enjoying the fact that he’s playing games here. He doesn’t want to be a bench warmer and he has an excellent attitude which, again, I like.
“There are players here on short term contracts, as we’ve spoken about before, and we’re probably looking at the back end of next week when we sit down and talk to them about their futures. I think it’s only right for us to speak to them face to face before we announce anything to the public.”
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