Keith Curle ahead of the trip to Stevenage
Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about the away game at Stevenage on Saturday.
“Stevenage will be a massive challenge for us,” he told us. “They use a slightly different formation and they can be very direct when they want to be. They have areas of the pitch they like to work in and we’ll have to deal with that.
“Teddy will be finding out about his squad of players and what they can do at the moment, so they’ll be trying to implement the ideas he has brought to the club.
“Every game we play gets addressed on its own merits and this one is no different. Something else we keep reminding people about is that my team will get picked based on who I think is best suited to face the team we’re playing against.”
“They’re a side who try to land on those balls which fall between the midfield and the centre backs,” he added. “We’ll need to stop the quality of ball which will go into their forward players.
“That means we have to stay with their runners and make sure we impose ourselves as much as we can. If we can prevent them from getting forward with any kind of quality it will give us the opportunity to get a foothold in the game.”
On the opposition manager, he said: “I came up against Teddy many years ago when I was starting my career in the top flight. I went to Wimbledon when he was at Millwall. They were flying high and doing very well at the time.
“We had some fantastic battles. He was up front with Tony Cascarino and I was beside Eric Young. With that you had four good professionals who had a good understanding of the game. All four of us had strengths and weaknesses but none us could be accused of shying away from challenges or of backing away from any situation.
“Teddy definitely wasn’t shy about leaving a stud on you. The good thing about him was that he could take a challenge as well. He would never whinge and moan about it. If you did give him a kick you could guarantee you would get one back, and you don’t mind that.
“He would take a knock, get up and come back for more the next time. I think you’d describe us as proper old school. Times have changed now because if someone gets a twisted sock they’re down for five minutes and they need attention from the medical people.”
“I think he was a very intelligent player,” he commented. “People said he would never play in the top flight because he didn’t have pace. Let me tell you, he was at least one step ahead of most players mentally.
“His anticipation and reading of the game were excellent. You don’t need physical pace when you can do that. That’s something he will take into his coaching and management career.”
“We've had two long trips this week but we won't feel sorry for ourselves,” he insisted. “It’s a challenge but the journey home on Tuesday night went with a breeze, because of the result and the performance. We’ll set this weekend as another challenge because we've got to go back down to London and no one will be expecting us to get back-to-back away wins in a situation like this.”
And with Jabo Ibehre and Charlie Wyke missing through injury, and loan striker Alex Gilliead called up for international duty, he admitted that local striker Grant Holt has been talked about as the Wigan striker continues his recovery from a knee injury.
“A few people have mentioned his name,” he said. “It’s one where you would never say never, and you never say no. I’d need to watch him myself and see where he’s at.
“He’s played a few under-21 games recently and he’s experienced enough to know those games are purely for him to get match-sharpness back up to speed.
“I’ve got respect for Grant Holt. I’ve played against him and I know what he offers. As with any player, I’d need to see him myself so I could see where he is physically and mentally. We need players here who fit into the ethos of what we’re trying to create at the football club. No player will walk into this club if I didn’t think it was right for the team.”
United PlayerHD subscribers can see an interview with Keith Curle now. Click HERE to go to the PlayerHD platform. Follow the same link for more information on United PlayerHD, and to subscribe.
to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.