Keith Curle on the developing spirit and ongoing recruitment
Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about on the developing character within the squad and the search for new players to add to the mix.
“The match day squad was full of big characters on Saturday and I do sympathise with the players who didn’t even make the 18,” he said. “I keep saying it, but the selection problems we have are a demonstration of how far we’ve come. We’ve actually come a long way in a very short space of time.
“The players we have here all know their roles and responsibilities and they’re all desperate to play. There’s an attitude here which has seen them start to demand more and more from each other and it’s helping us to drive on.
“The Portsmouth game was a good example of us understanding what we had to do. Mistakes were made but we didn’t let heads drop and we earned the right to get our goals. I think if you’re going to score two goals then you don’t get better timings than that. One came just before half time and the other with almost the last kick of the game. That meant they couldn’t really respond.”
On the brace from team captain Danny Grainger, he said: “Danny has taken massive strides this season and he’s really come on board with what we’re trying to do. He’s come under some criticism during my time here and but he’s got his head down and turned over a new leaf.
“He’s played a huge part in what we’re trying to do both on match days and during training. He’s become a big part player because his work rate and willingness to work is fantastic. Others feed off that.”
Speaking about absentees Macaulay Gillesphey and Hallam Hope, he said: “Macaulay has a problem with his pelvic area which is down to the rigours of being involved in first team football. It can happen to young players, so we’re working with Newcastle to strengthen that area for him.
“Hallam has picked up an ankle injury. We have to bear in mind that he is someone else’s player. He was desperate to play but the medical advice overrode his desire to do that. That meant he had to be left out purely as a precaution.
“There are certain movements he can’t do but it’s one of those where, had he been our player, we’d probably have told him to get out there and have a jab at it. However, if we don’t sign him, or we aren’t able to sign him, then what we don’t want to do is send him back injured.
“He’s a player who has qualities we like. We’ve had negotiations about extending the loan and we’ve set that with a side note to indicate we would continue paying when he is fit and available. He got injured playing for us so we want to keep looking after him if we possibly can. Obviously we would also like to see him playing for us again.”
And on the search for players to add to the group, he said: “We’re still trying to add the right players because we’re nowhere near the finished article. We’ve asked about two and there’s more follow up to be done on that.
“One of them was on the bench for a Championship side on Saturday and they know as well as we do that he’s a young lad who needs more game time. We think he’s one who could offer us something else so we’ll see where that goes. It could be a bit of a project but he belongs to another club, so we have to wait behind them.
“I’m mindful that our squad is top heavy and decisions have been made on the players we have here on short term contracts. They’ll be informed soon. I don’t enjoy telling any player they aren’t part of the plans but I make my name on these decisions.
“Everything I do is with the intention of taking the club forward. There’s no disgrace at all if a player is released because this is a club on the up. We’ve come a long way and the quality levels are increasing all the time. We’ll do that soon and we will always be looking at new players who can bring something different so that we can to progress along the path we’ve chosen to take.”
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