Keith Curle ahead of the visit of Barnet for the 2pm Saturday kick off
United manager Keith Curle spoke to us ahead of the early kick off [2pm on Saturday] against Barnet which provides the main course of a double-header [England v San Marino, kick off 5pm] right here at Brunton Park.
“I think if push came to shove the Carlisle supporters would choose to support their football club if the game hadn’t been brought forward,” he said. “The early kick off gives everyone a great way to start the weekend. They can watch Carlisle United against rivals who will be buoyant because of the promotion they enjoyed last season.
“The realistic expectation for them now is to comfortably stay in the division this year. That would be deemed as success for them. Martin Allen’s teams have passion, aggression, determination and a willingness to work. Barnet will have that in abundance.
“They won’t let us play the way we want to play so we’ll have to get out there and earn the right. We need to be alert and bright and we need to impose our game on them. We know they predominantly play 4-4-1-1 but they’ll have had us watched and I’m sure they’ll feel they see weaknesses in our game.”
Speaking about Barnet boss Martin Allen, he said: “Martin is a passionate man and he demands everything from his players. He’s very knowledgeable of systems and formations and he maximises everything he has in his changing room.
“I followed Martin into the job at Notts County. He was the outgoing manager as I came in and he left me a nice welcoming message on my office board. He wished me well at what he felt was a fantastic football club. I thought that was a nice touch, which has been remembered. However, when the whistle goes it’s a game of football and we’re putting our teams out against each other.”
On the style of football served up for the fans so far this season, he said: “The start of the season has been a period of education for us. That goes for the fans as well because we’re trying to do things slightly differently.
“Playing the way we do has helped us to create goalmouth action and there have been a few bums-off-seats moments. We know there’s more than one way to win a game, and we do want to get the ball down and play, but if we need to play a bit of League Two football we’re ready to do that as well.
“There is a level of expectancy around the club now. I've heard that the old Carlisle would tease you and tempt you, then let you down, but this is a new Carlisle. This is a new group of players who are writing their own headlines. Nobody knows what the script is yet, but that's pleasing.
“We're playing a brand of football which suits the new recruits. I don't think we've got the results we've deserved, but they will come. We want to win in front of our home supporters, they give us fantastic backing even though they've had a period of time where their resolve has been tested.
“We're miles away from being a finished article because we're nowhere near the Championship. I think I can take this club from League Two to the Championship and things are being done differently, on and off the field, to hopefully give us different results.”
“We're going into tomorrow's game expecting to get three points, which is pleasing,” he admitted. “There's a determination for us to play our brand of football but there is an understanding that we need to earn the right to do that.
“Teams are going to come and try to stop us from playing. We know Brunton Park is a big pitch so we need to make it massive for the opposition. We want teams to try to stop us from playing by throwing more men forward, so we can hit them on the counter - or hit them with that ‘League Two’ ball.
“We have a few little niggles and selection issues because of injuries for tomorrow but, with the strength we have in the squad, I’m very happy we still have square pegs for square holes. The only issue is now is the selection of substitutes and there will be people missing out so that tells us we have strength in depth.”
“David Atkinson is back to field-based training and Kevin Osei is joining in with our training sessions, so that’s a step forward for them,” he told us. “Charlie Wyke has been doing a bit of altitude training which helps him to keep his fitness levels up.
“We are still chasing potential new recruits and we’ve got to a stage where football club is talking to football club. We’re just waiting for permission to speak to a number of players about the possibility of a loan move. There’s no panic or rush, but work is being done.
“I have spoken to Alan Sheehan. He's in negotiations with another club so it's a waiting game to find out his decision on that. He's still under contract at his club and he played Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday recently.
“He's a League One player, I've worked with him before and he has characteristics I like. He's a left footed defender so it would give us a bit of balance. He can play at full back, left hand side centre back, or as a centre back, so he's got the flexibility I think we need. We've only got one naturally left footed defender playing at the moment because we’re trying to get Courtney [Meppen-Walter] up to speed so he can be involved in the first team as well.”
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