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MANAGER: They've had some good performances

19 February 2016

Keith Curle on Stevenage, trialists and coaching staff contracts

Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about Saturday’s home game against Stevenage at his Friday afternoon press conference.

“They have an interim manager in place and they’ve had a very big turnaround in players recently,” he said. “They’ll still be finding out about themselves collectively but they’ve had some very good performances. We’ve watched them closely and we feel there are areas we can exploit. 

“We’ll obviously have to look after the threats they bring because they have good energy and mobility in midfield. They’re very organised and can cause problems going forward, but I think they’ll come here and try to make sure they don’t get beat. That means we need to entice them out and avoid the temptation of being too enthusiastic too early.”

“There’ll be a level unpredictability about them because it is a relatively new group,” he continued. “They’ll be finding out about each other during game times and they’re playing with a bit of freedom at the moment. 

“They’ll be looking forward to the pitch and the surroundings. I think Darren [Sarll] has approached the chance he’s been given exceptionally well. He’s made it clear he wants the job and he’s had a good response from his players. 

“It doesn’t matter who you are, you need that as a manager. The players have to buy in to what you’re trying to do and credit to the Stevenage players because they’ve done that for him. They’ll come here to work hard for him and it’s going to be down to us to break them down.”

Speaking about the decision by an FA panel to overturn Jabo Ibehre’s record making red card, he said: “We think common sense prevailed. There were two or three other challenges in that game which, if his was a sending off, meant they should have joined him. 

“We were of the opinion from the offset that it was harsh. The pleasing thing is that this shows the panel does look at the evidence put forward by the football club. We put a very detailed appeal together with comments and input from myself, David Dent, Sarah McKnight and the media department. 

“It was a very accurate account of what we felt happened, with supporting evidence, and it gave us a strong argument. Obviously the end result of that effort is that we’ll have him available and he’s extremely pleased about that.”

“The injury situation isn’t bad at the moment, which is always good news,” he commented. “Danny Grainger is back to field-based training and it’s nice to see him jogging and getting fresh air. He isn’t anywhere near football training yet but he’s building up his movement and energy levels. 

“Tom Miller isn’t far behind that and I’d hope, from my non-medical point of view, to have them both back and training with me in two week’s time. Then it’ll be a case of fine tuning them and integrating them fully.”

Speaking about the need to build up a bit of momentum off the back of Tuesday night’s impressive performance, he said: “We know we haven’t got the momentum we’re seeking just yet but I know it will come. There are good building blocks in place from the Accrington Stanley home and away games because we saw two very professional performances. 

“Newport was a disappointment, we know that, but a lot of wrongs were put right on Tuesday night. I know that previous Carlisle teams who went down to ten men after 30 seconds would have ended up on the wrong side of a negative result. 

“Our response to the sending off was excellent. We played well enough to have won the game in the first half and the challenge now is for us to carry that on. We know we’re a work in progress but it’s a group which is constantly evolving. 

“The good thing is that we are able to change the way we play and we don’t have to stick to just one or two systems. To be able to do that you need the players in the dressing room who can adapt. We know we’re not the best team and we don’t pay the most money, or have the biggest wage bill in this division, but we’re definitely going in the right direction.”

On the search for new blood, he said: “Marcus Williams [ex-Sheffield United and Scunthorpe] has been with us on trial this week. He’s just come back from India [Kerala Blasters] and he’s a player I know a lot about. He’s shown us good character and hunger and the only thing lacking at the moment is the opportunity to see him in a competitive game. 

“The good thing for him is that he’s been playing competitive football abroad so he has a decent starting point. He has a good left foot and I’m in a place where I’m looking for a short-term replacement for Danny Grainger to give us a little bit of balance and understanding. 

“I have two good young left backs in the building, with Patrick Brough and Macaulay Gillesphey, but sometimes you want an older head. It brings another option and there’s nothing wrong with looking, without committing the club until we know it’s what we want.

“I spoke to Marcus today and I told him that ideally what we’d like to do is arrange a 90-minute game he could take part in. He’s in no hurry to get signed up because he wants his next move to be right for him as well. 

“We’ll monitor it for a period of time because it suits us and him that he can get some good training under his belt. That’s allowing him to keep his fitness levels up until he gets sorted out, whether that’s here or somewhere else.”

“Looking the other way, we’ve had a couple of enquiries for a couple of our players to go out on loan to Eastleigh,” he revealed. “It hasn’t quite suited the lads in question and we aren’t in a situation where we need to be forcing players out of the door. If the move isn’t right for them, even if it was right for us, then it doesn’t happen.”

“The next thing for me to get sorted is the contract situation with my staff,” he concluded. “The staff I brought into the football club knew that my contract situation had to be sorted out first and foremost. My loyalty to them exists because their work ethic allows me to manage the way I want to. The next stage is to get them sorted out with contracts befitting of the efforts they put in on our behalf. 

“Make no mistake about it, I do not manage this football club on my own. It’s my name above the door, and I’m the one who gets shouted at when things go wrong, or pats on the back when they’re going right, but it’s a team effort from all of my staff and I value every one of them. 

“There’s still room for improvement in how we do things but that’s the case for everybody. If I feel something needs to change then I’m brave enough to make those decisions. I make them for the right reasons and that’s ultimately to improve results.

“My coaching staff bring their opinions to every conversation and they’re in no way Keith Curle puppets. We often disagree but obviously it’s me who has to make the final decision, because that’s what I’m paid to do. Even then it’s the staff who make my decision work. That’s why we’ll look at where we go with that as soon as we can.”

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