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MANAGER: My job is to turn a squad into a team

28 June 2016

Keith Curle on adding to the squad, Miller and McQueen

Manager Keith Curle added signing number eight to the mix on Monday morning when defender Tom Miller signed a two-year deal ahead of the start of week two of pre-season training.

With some impressive business already done he confirmed at his first press conference of the new campaign that there is still more work to do.

“We’ve got some good pieces of the jigsaw in place and we want to add to it,” he said. “We’re constantly looking at how we can improve the football club, not just with signings but with everything we do. 

“We’re getting more and more people facing in the same direction and that’s why there’s such a good feeling at the moment. I think that’s massive. The progression we saw last season was a huge forward stride from where we were the season before. 

“The aim and objective for this season is for that to continue. That means that league wise we need to improve on tenth position. Am I going to set a target to say we need this many points, or we need to finish in this position? No. But are we striving for improvement? Yes, we are.”

“The transfer business we’ve done so far has been very good,” he commented. “One of the things I said would happen when I got here was that there’d be a change to the recruitment policy. We’ve done that and a large part of the documentation we’ve put together will be left as and when I leave the football club. The coding system and the way we look to recruit players will be there for use by the next management team going forward.

“I think the reason why we have been able to acquire quality players is that Carlisle United as a football club is becoming more attractive within the football community. People are starting to take not of the fact some good players are coming up here. 

“Hopefully we’ll have a fantastic pre-season which will lead into us having a successful team. My job is to turn a squad of players into a team that makes us very competitive to help us to achieve that.”

Speaking about the signing of Tom Miller, he said: “We made an offer to Tom and we’ve had negotiations following on from that. It has taken a bit of time but it’s there now. We now get him coming back into the fold with the hunger and desire we had from him when he first joined the club. 

“He had a point to prove last summer and that’s still the case as far as I’m concerned. I have to see if I can continue to improve him and he has to see if he can stay on this journey we hope to be going on. 

“He’s here in a good fame of mind and he knows there’s going to be competition for his place. That’s why he has to make sure his standards are right or it could turn out to feel like a long season for him. However, I’m confident that he will continue to progress and that he’ll play a big part in our future.

“I think we can get more goals out of him and that he can be part of a defence which will get more clean sheets. He’s one who could progress beyond us, as daft as that sounds. If you get a right back who can score goals ... they’re gold dust.”

And on the other contract offered at the end of last season, to defender Alexander McQueen, he said: “Where we left it with Alex was that he was due to have a meeting with his parents and his representatives to have a discussion about the offer we’d made. We’re still waiting for him to get back in touch with us so that we know what the next step will be.

“We think we’ve done the right thing by making the offer and there is room for negotiation. We know contact will be made again so that we can follow that up. There will come a time where he will need to be preparing for the season and either signing for somebody else or agreeing to the terms offered here. We’re not quite at the stage where we need to draw a line in the sand.

“He came into the club as a project and he got over 20 starts so he definitely has something to work with. We’re in a position where a firm offer has been made and if he decides his future is elsewhere he can move on knowing we have been part of his development and we can claim everything that goes with that.

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