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MANAGER: There is a real hunger about him

29 May 2016

Keith Curle on the signing of Russell Penn

We spoke to manager Keith Curle on Friday morning shortly after the signing of Russell Penn, the third player to come to Brunton Park in the space of five days.

"I'm very pleased," he said. "Russell is a good player with a good character. He'll give us another option and I think you'd probably describe him as a mix between Luke Joyce and Jason Kennedy. He's got good attributes that both those players have and he'll add good competition in that area.

"There is a real hunger about him because of the disappointing season he's just had. That frustration came through in the meetings I've had with Russ, it's clear he wants to play league football.

"He's been a captain and I think he took that relegation personally, he had a lot of respect for York but he didn't want to see his career go into non-league.

"We've given him a lifeline and he's jumped at the opportunity. He wants to finish his career with a team at the right end of the table.

"He's a professional man, he's got similar characteristics to Antony Sweeney but I think he can add a little bit more. There are still things Russ wants to achieve in the game, so the desire is there."

On the length of time a deal like this can take to get over the line, he explained: "We don't do knee-jerk reactions. Nicky Adams was a player we'd targeted in early January.

"I tell Lee [Dykes] if I think we can improve something, Lee then spends a lot of time on the phone and watching clips of players. Situations can change on a daily basis, sometimes a manager change or a change in the amount of game time a player is getting can lead to their agent looking for a move for them.

"We let some very good players go, the important thing for us now is to get in players who are as good or better than the players I released. There are key areas across the pitch that I think we are improving on."

On getting three deals completed in the space of a week, he told us: "It's pleasing, things are all coming together at the right time. It's always good when you can get a little influx of players because the football industry and our supporters will see that.

"Once we'd released players I think we had 11 signed players - we knew there was work to be done. We freed up some money within the budget to make sure we were able to get the targets we wanted. We haven't prioritised, but as and when the targets have become available we've got them over the line.

"We're doing our business early, but we're bringing in quality players with the required ability that is needed to get in the team. The message the players will get on the first day of pre-season is that they will have to earn the shirt.

"Once you've got it, you've got to perform. We're going to give the players detailed outlines of what is success so when they come off the pitch they know if they've ticked those boxes and performed. If they do that there is a good chance, not a guarantee, of keeping their shirt.

"If they don't perform they know we've got good competition in the squad and I can change things."

Talking about the arrival of further signings, he told us: "We've got another signing we haven't announced yet for various reasons. We'll be hoping that after the Bank Holiday weekend we'll have further news. If not, don't panic, because we are working hard.

"We're still a working progress, things are taking shape and we're narrowing things down to the exact positions I'm looking to fill.

"I had a meeting with a player in Sheffield on Friday afternoon, I've been up and down to Manchester, Brunton Park and now Sheffield. People might think this is my holiday time, far from it, this is when I do my work.

"The better work I do now, the easier my pre-season is. If we've got players in the building I can concentrate on moulding them into the team, shape and squad we want to get the best out of those players."

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