Keith Curle on new additions at Brunton Park
Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about the continuing search for new blood following the additions of Nicky Adams and Joe McKee to the playing ranks this week.
“There is enough room in what we want to do to bring in good professionals,” he said. “We have a level of professionalism here whereby the characters we bring in have to be right.
“I can tell you that before we sign anybody I will know what they bring to the table. That’s the case with the two we added this week. There are expectations levels attached to us now and we should be proud of that. Players who come here have to be aware of it because everything is geared towards being successful.
“My ambition next season is that I don’t want to be out of the top seven. When the season ends we have got to be in that shake-up, and who is to say that we can’t go and do a Northampton? I certainly think we can.
“Likewise, if it means we have to creep into the play-offs by finishing seventh, I’ll take that as well. That shows continued upward progression, which is what we are demanding from everyone for this football club.”
“The work we are now doing in recruiting players is with progression and upward movement in mind,” he commented. “If you look at the team we had in place when we played Notts County at Preston you wouldn’t have thought there was a lot of tinkering needed off the back of a performance like that.
“On that day we showed great signs of us going in the right direction. I think we went up to fifth in the table and everybody connected with the club was looking up. Looking back at the second half of the season, it showed us that we do need a little bit more and I took that on board. The meetings I had with my staff post-season were to identify those areas where we feel we came up short.”
“I want to improve this club,” he continued. “As a manager I want to start getting promotions and winning titles. That’s my drive because I want to be recognised as somebody who knows how to bring success to a football club.
“I want to be part of the leadership at this club which takes us in the right direction. Are we going to celebrate and have a ‘knees-up’ because we finished tenth? Forget about me being here if that’s the case. I’m here to get us out of this division and to create an increasingly progressive environment.”
“I’ve got to say the support and backing I’ve had from all quarters as I work towards that has been exceptional,” he concluded. “I’ve had the full support of the players and the supporters, and the backing I’ve had from the chairman, the owners and the board has been excellent.
“I’ve had experience of other football clubs where it hasn’t been that way, but the relationships I have here are fantastic. That puts me in a good position to bring success to this football club.”
And the United boss Keith also confirmed that there has so far been response to the contract offers made to defenders Tom Miller and Alexander McQueen at the end of last season.
“There’s been no update from Tom or Alex yet,” he said. “They've been given their offers which will be their starting point and bench mark.
“They are well within their rights to be listening to other offers, which I think they’ll get. They need to decide whether they want their progression to be at Carlisle United or elsewhere.
“If they do decide it’s with us, excellent, because that's why we made the offers to them. They had seven days to acknowledge that the Football League says they then get 28 days to make the decision.”
With five goals in 40 appearance for Miller and 26 first team appearances for McQueen, both as a wing back and a right back, it’s easy to see why the manager is keen to secure their services for another term.
“As I say, we’ve made the offers because we want them here,” he said. “They’re good lads and the type of character we want with us.
“Having said that, we won't get caught short. We have preliminary targets if either of those two choose to go elsewhere. We've got other players in mind who we think can add similar values.”
On the situation with staff contract negotiations, he said: "We're very close to an announcement on that. The contracts have been sent out for the staff to check then hopefully they will be agreed and signed.
"That will be a massive boost for me because I brought the staff in with me. They've integrated into the football club excellently and I think what they bring to the party is being valued.
"They're good professionals with a good work ethic and a desire to be successful. They're not here just to get a pay packet. They're here to be successful and to get this football club to where we think we can take it."
And on the preparations for pre-season, he said: "There are a few elements of the pre-season package that need to be changed.
"The preliminary phone calls need to be followed up and finalised. Some of the teams have been involved in play-off games and one of the clubs has just had a takeover. We're still trying to finalise dates and as soon as they're confirmed we'll be releasing it."
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