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MANAGER: A step towards where we want to be

8 April 2016

Keith Curle looks ahead to the Mansfield game

Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about the Saturday visit of Mansfield Town at his Friday afternoon press conference.

“I know Adam [Murray] well and I can tell you that he likes to win football matches,” he said. “Mansfield will be a very competitive team and we will have to match the energy they will bring. 

“Adam was with me as a player at Mansfield. He’s done well with a host of new players and that shows he has a vision for where he wants his club to go. The more managers who can come into the game and stay for longer than the one year cycle we see so often the better it will be overall. 

“He was at the game on Tuesday and I think he will try to flood the midfield area. It could be a scrappy encounter because of that, but we’ll be prepared to work hard to try to get on top.”

“Hopefully it’ll be another step towards where we want to be,” he added. “It’s been an interesting journey and it’s seen us become very competitive at the right end of the table. Our focus is on looking up and that’s a really pleasing thing.

“It doesn’t get better than this. We’re coming into the last six games of the season and it all starts for us with a home game against a side who will try to spoil our party. If I was in Carlisle on Saturday afternoon I know what I’d be doing – I’d be showing my support and coming to the football match so that I could be part of it.” 

“Our fans have been superb all season and let me tell you, I do hear the paddock,” he commented. “They have their timing absolutely bang on. As soon as it goes quiet there are three or four voices I recognise and they pipe up just at the right time. I daren’t turn round!

“I enjoy it because it’s their football club. They’re not coming to be entertained by me but by what we’re trying to serve up on the pitch. That means they’ll have an opinion and I think that’s excellent. We don’t want to hold boards up saying ‘clap now’ because that’s not how we want it to be. 

“If they’re disgruntled or unhappy then they have every right to voice an opinion. That’s what they’re there for. Likewise when they see something that makes them happy they let us know.”
“My job ever since I got here has been to get everyone to pull in the same direction,” he said. “That focus is there now and it can only be good for us. 

“Every game now is vitally important and to be in touching distance with six games to shows we’re on an upward spiral. We’ve come through the distraction and disruption of the floods but ultimately we’ve ticked a lot of boxes.

“The lads have had a lot of mental challenges to face this season and they’ve adapted to that and dealt with it. We have a very committed group who want to learn and strive to improve, and I think that’s fantastic.

“There’s a unity growing and everyone connected with the club can feel very proud of that.”

Speaking about his time at Mansfield, he said: “I have some lovely memories of my time there. One of the biggest memories is when we emptied Mansfield to go to the Millennium Stadium for the play-off final against Huddersfield. We’d beaten Northampton over two legs in the semi-finals and we went into extra time in the final. We had a goal disallowed in the last minute and unfortunately we were beaten on penalties. 

“It was a similar situation to what I found here when I got there. I took on a club which had been relegated the season before and we had a lot of work to do. Some firm foundations were put down and we had some good players who went on to have very good careers.
“It was my first job in football as a manager and I think you always remember that. It didn’t end how I wanted to but I made a lot of friends.”

On his own squad, he said: “We have a clean bill of health. Every single player is available. There’s a real competitive edge so we have to manage that within the training sessions we do. We added players to the squad in the transfer window with this scenario in mind. We wanted to have a strong squad to cover every possibility.

“Charlie [Wyke] is fit and ready. We rested him purely as a precaution and that shows the strength and belief I have in the squad that we were able to sit him out. If it had been a cup final or the last game of the season, he’d have played. 

“He’s now back and completely injury free. He’d taken a knock and it would have made it worse if it had happened again on the same place. He wanted to be involved but it was purely my decision, with advice from the medical staff, that I chose to leave him out.”

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