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MANAGER: We're putting in a lot of calls

29 August 2016

Keith Curle on transfer windows, Gilliead and Ibehre

Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about the hunt for new blood as the summer transfer window heads towards closure at 11pm on Wednesday night.

“We’re looking to improve the squad without putting a definite number on it,” he said. “If a player is available and the finances are right then we will try to make it happen. 

“We’re putting in a lot of calls to help us to try to fill the voids I think are still there. The availability of the players we’re looking at could change at any time - we’re ready to react if it does.

“I have to say the club is well on board because they are constantly telling me what is and isn’t available and where I can potentially make some inroads with finances. We’re in a business, and we have to balance the books, but the focus is definitely on what we’re delivering on the pitch.”

“I think it’s fair to say we don’t quite have enough players in the building at the moment to see us through from now to the end of the season,” he told us. “However, I will only ever bring players in if they will improve the squad. It won’t be done for the sake of it.

“If we bring someone in it could have obviously have an impact on the players here now, but we want this squad to be as competitive as possible. The lads understand that as a management staff we need to be progressive.

“We aren’t the finished article and the job of all my staff is to continually look for improvement. The job of the football club is to make sure they can help me do my job, and they’re backing me as much as they possibly can.”

On the reported interest in Magpies forward Alex Gilliead, he said: “We like good players and on his day I’d say he’s in the top four or five players in this division in his position.

“We’ve posted an interest to see if there’s a deal to be had because I’m sure they don’t want a player sitting there when he could be playing league football. We’ll have to see what happens but everyone knows we think he’s a good player.”

And looking back at the weekend, he spoke about another energetic and committed performance from a group of players who could have easily stepped off the gas following their Tuesday night heroics.

“Credit has to go to the strength and conditioning coach and the medical department,” he told us. “The monitoring systems they have in place tell us where the players are at, and sometimes the best form of work is rest. 

“It’s about getting the balance right and having trust in the players. The difficult thing on occasions is that we have to pull the players up because they want to work too hard. We know how much work we can put into their legs and they’re buying in to what we ask them to do.  The rewards are coming for that at the moment.

“Jabo [Ibehre] is a great example of that. The players had two days off on Wednesday and Thursday and Jabo told us he didn’t want it. He came in and worked on his own. 

“I had a conversation with him about it and he told me he was on it. He needed that goal as a reward for the work he’s done so far this season. Everything he hit last season went in, but he’s having to work on his game this season. 

“For someone his age to come in on his day off and do that work speaks volumes about how he is. As I say, work like that gets rewards and the goal he scored is as good as a 35-yard rocket into the top corner for any striker.”

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