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MANAGER: The next two games are massive

29 February 2016

Keith Curle on preparation and a massive week ahead

Manager Keith Curle confirmed today that he sees this week’s home double-header against Leyton Orient and Northampton as a fantastic opportunity to lay down a marker as the end of season run-in gathers pace. 

“I genuinely think that if we get in the play-offs we will go up,” he insisted. “Someone has got to stop us. That confidence comes from seeing the players on a daily basis and the secret now is for them to start believing it. 

“Let’s make no mistake about it, the next two games are absolutely massive. I’m going to build it up in that way for the players as well. Everything will be spot on and they’re buying into it already because they’ve changed their routine over the weekend. 

“A lot of them would normally have gone home but they’ve come back to Carlisle and got on fully with the rest and recuperation part of their preparation. We’ve had a lot of games recently but we’re also getting a lot of rest in between.”

“We’re training later today [Monday] to make sure the players are fresh, but as soon as they get in they know it’s time to work,” he explained. “We want them to be in top form and in the best condition they possibly can be to put in two performances which will hopefully send a message to other people. 

“If we get six points out of the next two games other people will start to feel we’re a team to look out for. When you think about it, it’s a great week to look forward to. We have two fantastic games coming up and training will be short, sharp, bright and lively and we’ll give the lads the pointers they need so they can get out there and do the things we want them to do. 

“We’ll train on Tuesday morning ahead of the Orient game, so that we’ve broken things up, and that should make it easier for the players to digest the information we want them to take on board. There’s a job for them all to do within the freedom we’ve given them and that comes from having a solid and understandable framework.”

Speaking about the first half injury picked up by QPR loanee Brandon Comley at the weekend, he said: “The initial diagnosis isn’t good. It does appear to be a similar injury to the one picked up by Danny Grainger. As we said on Saturday, we need to let it settle down and we can diagnose it from there.

“He’ll go back to QPR to get his treatment but we’ll be kept up to date with how he’s getting on. Obviously what we want to know is how quickly we can get him back and available. It’s disappointing for him and us, but we’re still at the stage where we’re hoping it isn’t as bad as it first appears.

“He’s slightly younger and you find with young people that they come back quicker if they look after themselves. First and foremost I’d say he’s added dynamics to our team in midfield and he’s shown us he has an eye for a tackle. 

“There are a lot of things in his game he still needs to improve but you can see why he attracted the attention of a club like QPR. We’ve tried to help him and educate him in his progression in the game and he’s come on board with what we’re trying to do. Ultimately he’s enjoyed playing for us and it’s been a more than positive experience for him.”

“What we create here at the club is a welcoming atmosphere for lads like him,” he commented. “By that I mean they’re given the freedom to express themselves. That’s on top of the fact they are met by people who go out of their way to help them.

“Our part of the job is to find players who fit into the club ethos, and that’s why we do our due diligence. What you don’t want is a bad character, but I’m very aware that a player seen as a wrong ‘un at one club can fit in well at another. 

“Look at Eric Cantona, he was seen as a problem by some but I can tell you, we lived in the same cul-de-sac and he was an absolute gentleman. My next door neighbours were Eric and Mark Hughes and they were really good people. You’d certainly have them in your team.

“Eric was a wonderful footballer who could take a kick and, I have to say, I did give him a few. He was a completely different character when you saw him off the field and our kids used to play football in the back garden together as well. 

“So, yes, you are aware of certain criteria but you also want the best players for the job. I don’t think we’ll have anybody in ahead of the Orient game but we’ve had a busy weekend on the phone talking to people. That will continue.”

And on the amazing second half turnaround at Morecambe on Saturday, he said: “I thought we dominated physically for 90 minutes at Wimbledon but Morecambe were on top of us for 45 minutes on Saturday. 

“It was a different story in the second half because the players got a wake up call. It’s not all about ranting and raving, even though I can go when I need to. There’s a level of honesty in everything I say and sometimes it’s enough just to tell a player he’s not doing it. If they respect what you’re saying it tends to get a reaction. Thankfully that’s what we got and it brought us the victory.”

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