Keith Curle on Ellis, Hope, Thompson and Ibehre
Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about a busy day of activity as three contracts were secured ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup fixture against Yeovil Town.
“It’s been a good day of business for us,” he said. “We’ve managed to get Hallam Hope extended, Joe Thompson is with us until the end of the season and we’ve tied Mark Ellis down permanently.
“That’s three players we all know plenty about and we’re happy with the way they’ve settled with us. There’s more to come from all of them and there’s still an opportunity for more business to be done from within the group as well.”
“We’re pleased for Mark Ellis and for the club with the length of his deal,” he told us. “He’s bought into the philosophy and the way we want to do things, and he’s excited by what we’re trying to achieve.
“He has the experience of promotion with his previous club and that’s something I want him to bring here. Whether that’s with a quiet word to steady heads or leading by example, he has it in him. He doesn’t have a fist-pumping type of character but he’s a thinker and he’s very good at taking information on board. He also has a voice people listen to.
“He’s signed an incentive-based contract, and we know he’s taken a drop in wages from where he was at with Shrewsbury. However, we’re able to offer him good, competitive money by him performing well and by the team getting results. Ultimately the more games we win the more our players get paid.”
“The good news with Hallam is that he has now had four days of training,” he said. “That was three days with Bury and one day here with us. It’s been a slow recovery process for him and he’s seen steady improvement with his injury.
“He looked sharp this morning so team selection is now a decision I have to make based on whether or not there is any reaction to what he’s done today. His loan with us takes him up to the end of his 93-day period and I’m always mindful of the fact he’s been with us for just over a month and we haven’t been able to use him.
“The situation now is that we want him to come back and lift off from where he was at the start of his loan spell. The good thing is that we know he wants to play and he’s handled this setback in a really good way.”
“As far as Joe Thompson is concerned, he’s a player who hasn’t had the pitch time he wants,” he explained. “He’s working hard to earn the right to have a consistent run of games and it’s been a frustrating period for him.
“I see Joe on a daily basis and he is nowhere near the finished article, but we can say that about a lot of players in the squad. He has attributes I like. He has excellent game understanding and a good work ethic. He’s a player I know can adapt his game to play a number of roles and I see him as a game changer.
“We’re trying to build a squad mentality whereby we will have players who won’t start every week, but I need to know I can rely on them when they do get that pitch time.”
Speaking about striker Jabo Ibehre, he said: “The news for Jabo’s daughter has been good. She’s responded very well to the treatment and she’s back to being the bubbly little girl she was before the illness.
“He’s back in the fold with us today and it’s been nice to see him around the place. It was a scare for everybody but I think it was dealt with in a very good manner.”
And on the possibility of more movement in the transfer market, he said: “We do have other targets we’ve spoken to parent clubs about. It’s been good to get the in-house business sorted and we can now start to look at the other quality additions we want to make.
“One of the players we’ve asked about is involved in the cup with his team this weekend, so that’s one we will have to monitor. There are others we’ve also talked about because we want to keep developing the squad, and we want to make sure continual improvement is top of the agenda.”
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