Manager Keith Curle ahead of the Yeovil Town game
Manager Keith Curle spoke to us ahead of the visit of Yeovil Town on Saturday.
“Yeovil will come here with a game plan to try and frustrate us,” he said. “They’ll try to do that to us as a team and also to our supporters as well. They’ll get men behind the ball and they’ll be an obstacle which we will have to try to break down.
“Their game plan will be to get us to over-commit and then catch us on the counter-attack or the break. We need to make sure we’re patient in our approach but we also want to give the fans something to shout about. When we’re in the final third we need to up our tempo and make sure we’re a goal threat.
“As we know, goals change games so if we go out tomorrow and score a couple of goals they'll have to change their game plan. They'll let us have possession in certain areas and they’ll hope we don't take the chances we create.
“It might be frustrating for our supporters. We've told the players to be patient but also to be forward thinking. We've got 95 minutes to win the game so we don’t need to be gung-ho and give the opposition a foothold in the game. We all want the goalmouth action we’ve spoken about but it won't be at the expense of leaving the back door open.”
“I think we’ll see their game plan very early on and we've got certain things we want to try and do,” he commented. “If they do play a pressing game we've got key things we want to try and implement. Likewise, if they sit back and invite pressure we've got things we think will cause them more problems.”
“It’s a difficult situation for them at the moment and Paul Sturrock has gone into the football club and changed a lot of the playing staff. I think they'll be in that settling down period and Paul will be gaining a better understanding of what he's getting from his players.
“Once you get involved in relegations and relegation dogfights it can be difficult to get out of it. Two years ago they were a Championship club but they weren't able to halt that slide and prevent relegation into League Two, and that does have an effect.
“As a group of supporters, players and a management team they've been there before. They know what it's like to scrap and get out of it and they've got a very experienced manager who will build again. They are in a rebuilding process, not too dissimilar to ourselves, so they’ll be a tough team to face.”
On the return to training of striker Jabo Ibehre, he said: “Jabo is back on grass and training, which is good news. The decision now is whether or not to include him, bearing in mind he hasn’t had an 11v11 game to participate in, as yet. The work he’s done with Neil Dalton and Lee Fearn has been excellent.
“Saturday could be two or three days too soon but that’s a gamble I’ll make a decision on tomorrow morning. My staff will always give me the best information they can to help me with this type of decision.
“When we meet to discuss who is involved it will be one of those where I will ask if he could give me 45 minutes with confidence, if needed, or would that be at the expense of losing him for another five or six weeks. He’s a good player, and any team misses a good player, but we want to manage his situation correctly.”
Speaking about the news released today that over £250,000 has been received from the Capital One Cup tie with Liverpool, he said: “I think that’s a reward for everyone connected with the club. We know that if we want to move or make improvements in any area to do with the club, money is there.
“The agreement is the same as when I first came to the football club. All money generated, within reason, is to be made available for improving the club and the team. I have a fantastic working relationship with the board whereby I know what I can spend on individual players.
“What I do try to bring with every signing is value and quality, with one eye on the future. We’re getting better and better as a squad and the standards on and off the pitch are being increased. Within that my job is to make sure I recruit wisely with any money we have available.
“We are a top heavy squad at the moment and the team does need to be slightly refined. I still think there is development to come from within our squad. There are individuals who can go to the next level and we’re demanding more as we test all of our players to try and get the best they can give us every day of the week.
“We have 24 people available who are fit and raring to go so there will be some disappointed people sat in that stand on a match day. I don’t walk away from that. The working relationship we have now is that if players are disappointed, they bring it to me. I don’t want it to have a negative impact on the dressing room.
“The only way we will evolve as a club is to raise the quality and to be demanding of everybody at every opportunity we get. That is the standard I have introduced and it’s how it will be as we go on from here.”
And on the decision not to overturn the red card shown to Luke Joyce last Saturday, he said: “Luke is obviously very disappointed. There was an overwhelming feeling that it was a fantastic tackle in any division.
“If that had been a Premier League game, with the amount of cameras and different angles, I've got no doubt the red card would have been overturned. We don’t have that at this level so we just have to accept it.
“As I say, it was a good tackle and I encourage that sort of commitment from all of our players. I don't really understand how you can be criticised for being over excessive in a tackle, if it has been completed in a fair manner, as this one was. If we show more aggression and commitment than the opponent I'll take that every single day of the week, because it means I'm doing my job properly.”
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