Keith Curle ahead of the Saturday visit of Morecambe
Manager Keith Curle spoke to us ahead of the Saturday visit of Morecambe.
“I watched Morecambe on Tuesday and they are very similar to us,” he said. “Both teams have scored and conceded a lot of goals. That means it will probably be a 0-0 draw!
“Seriously, though, I think it’s a game where we can expect goals. A real plus point for Morecambe will be their attacking threat because they want to play forward thinking football. They’ll also be robust and they’ll make it difficult.
“They will be suited to playing their style of football at Brunton Park. Countering the counter-attack is something we’ve looked at this week to help us to deal with that. They are another team who got their first clean sheet recently so that’s something both clubs obviously need to work on.”
“It’s a game we go into with raised expectations,” he added. “These players don’t need to be afraid of that because they’ve shown at Liverpool they can perform at the highest level and on the biggest stage. We need to make sure we’ve got that same intensity whoever we play.
“Everything we do is about taking one game at a time. I think you are where you deserve to be when things settle down after 16 games. That’s when the job of the manager is to enhance or change things to maintain it, or to make it better.
“I make no bones about it; this squad is not the finished article. There will be additions and there will be improvement from within the squad as well. We are a work in progress. We’ve done a number of things differently this year and we’ve had a lot players go from living with a squad mentality to being part a team. Unity and togetherness is growing on the pitch and the relationship with the supporters and the rest of club is growing and bonding as well.
“People asked how we would cope without Jabo [Ibehre] but we’ve won our last two games without him. We shuffled the pack and the emergence of Derek Asamoah was important. He came into the fold and scored goals and he has been a real threat. We also found other ways of scoring goals and it’s seen us through.
“One thing I will say is that we don’t score enough goals from set pieces, so that’s something we’ve been working on. There are dangerous players in this squad who will get goal opportunities in those situations. I’m comfortable we’re an attack minded team with the licence and ability to score goals from open play as well.”
“It’s nice to see Jabo Ibehre and Charlie Wyke back on the training ground and doing some football related rehabilitation,” he commented. “You have to say that is fantastic work from Neil Dalton and Lee Fearn.
“These lads are coming back not just injury free, but at a fitness level which will allow them to compete. I think there’s a realistic hope that one of them will be available for next weekend at least, as long as they progress as we think they will.”
On Newcastle United pair Alex Gilliead and Macaulay Gillesphey, he said: “We’re trying to negotiate an agreement with Newcastle that sees the club safeguarded if anything happens while Alex is away on international duty. We don’t really want to be paying for a player when he’s not here, so we’re talking to them about what we can do about that.
“We’re also talking about what happens beyond the current loan spell. Both of these lads have been identified as players who we think have added things to our squad. The pleasing thing is that there’s still a lot more to come from both of them.”
And on his own contract situation, he said: “The remit when I took over was to keep us up. We did that, and we are now looking to comfortably finish within the division. We wanted to make sure pillars and foundations were there and in place to help us to get success in the future. Finishing around tenth to fourteenth spot is good progress. Anything above that is very good progress.
“The agreement I have at the football club runs until the end of this season. We had an agreement in place, when I first got here, which took me to that point. As we stand today that’s exactly where we’re at.
“There was a break clause, whereby if we had been relegated they could have brought someone else in to get them out of the Conference and I could have looked for gainful employment elsewhere. That didn’t happen so the agreement we had is still in place.
“This football club is an enjoyable place to be at the moment. The work ethic the players have been asked to adopt has been embraced. There are individual targets and every player is pushing for them because they know this is a very competitive squad. They also know that at the drop of a hat they might not be in the team. It’s up to them to do what’s needed to stay involved every step of the way.
“I work 24 hours a day on improving this football club. It takes that amount of effort to make sure things go as we want them to. If I can see an area I think needs to be done differently to get results then I raise it and we implement it. I’m getting that back from everybody and we are creating a very professional environment.”
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