Keith Curle on two games in two days and the transfer windowWe caught up with manager Keith Curle ahead of the Thursday morning training session to get more of his thoughts on the Crewe game and on the busy period ahead.
“Crewe was a difficult place to go to but I don’t think we played in the way I know we can for the full 90 minutes,” he said. “However, there were periods in the game where we played well. We had good dominance after we scored and a few half chances came our way, particularly for Charlie Wyke and Jason Kennedy.
“You have to give credit to Crewe because I thought they played very well as and when we allowed them to. They looked a dangerous team when they came into the game and I think they’ll cause a few upsets against teams in this division.
“Being honest, I think that would have been an even more difficult place for us to go in previous seasons. You have to bear in mind that they were a League One side last season and they have some very good players.
“There’s been a bit of trauma surrounding the club but I think they’re starting to come through that now. People will be talking about what they’re doing on the pitch again and that’s definitely important for them as a football club.”
Looking ahead to the preparations for two games in the space of 48 hours this coming weekend, he said: “We always say that our focus is on the next game but I have to say that in a situation like this you do have to have half a mind on the Monday game as well.
“We’ll do everything we always do for the Notts County game in terms of due diligence, video analysis and getting the messages across to the players, because nothing changes on that score. The slight difference is that we’ll be training on New Year’s Day so that we can do the final preparations for the Grimsby home game.
“Having games back-to-back like this means that our workload as a coaching staff has had to be changed through the working week. Rather than have a couple of days off after the Crewe game we’ve been concentrating on the next two fixtures. Most of the information we need for the Grimsby game has been compiled already because we were mindful that there would only be one day in between the fixtures.
“We have no worries at all about how the lads will deal with it. They’re professionals and they’ll be looking forward to it. It’s a mental challenge for them but they’ve shown us all season that they can deal with those.
“What they all appreciate fully is there’s simply no way you can go out on Saturday and think you can save something for the Monday game. If you try that the likelihood will be that you don’t perform at all. That makes it simple for me because it means you don’t play on Monday.”
With six points up for grabs over the two-day period, he said: “Six points for any team at this time of year can be a massive factor. Even more so with the transfer window opening up as well. It would be nice to go into that off the back of a positive result.
“We’ve had an eye on the transfer window, as has every club, because you’ve got to be realistic about it. As we’ve said before, if you look at the teams last season who were successful they brought in players who had an impact on the remainder of their campaign.
“Northampton, Oxford, Wimbledon and Bristol Rovers all recruited very well. We’re looking at that and our focus is on key areas where we think we can still add skill sets we don’t have here at the moment. We’re not in a position where we’ll panic buy because there isn’t a desperate need for any particular skill set. We have a good squad which has versatility, adaptability and ability.”
“Another thing we’ve spoken about before in relation to the transfer window is that we do have guidelines we have to adhere to in terms of Salary Cost Management,” he commented. “It’s no longer the case where you can go out and put the club in extreme debt where it can then find itself in real trouble.
“These measures have been put in place to make sure you can’t spend what you don’t generate. That’s why some might ask why I keep harping on about getting more people through the gates at Brunton Park. The fact is that more people mean more revenue. More revenue means more money to spend.
“The pleasing thing is that we’ve done a lot of leg work and if we get the green light to indicate how much there is available to spend I’ll know in my mind which players I want to spend that money on - whether I bring in four players or just one.
“My job will be to get the best value for the money which is made available. That’s something I’ve always tried to do and that’s why we haven’t filled the changing room with 26 or 27 players. It’s a smaller squad but, in my opinion, we’ve got a lot of quality in there.
“So, it is selfish when I keep asking for more supporters because the more people who are here the more money can be made available for me. On the flip side of that, if people decide not to come then there’s no money for me to spend.
“Our next home game is Grimsby and I’m hoping they bring a good amount. I’m also hoping we have a minimum of 5,000 of our own supporters. I’m looking for a crowd of over 6,500 because Brunton Park is a noisy place when you get that.
“I look at the Hartlepool game this year and it was the supporters who got us that result. That’s because they make it very difficult for the opposition to settle.”