Keith Curle on the January transfer windowAs United head into the FA Cup weekend at the top of the League Two pile manager Keith Curle admitted today that it’s a nice feeling to see his team in pole position following their blistering start to the campaign.
“It makes you feel very proud,” he said. “However, there’s a long way to go. We’re where we want to be, but the secret now is making sure we stay there. We have players here who know what it’s like to be at the top of a division and they have to keep backing themselves to do the things they know they can do.
“The good thing is that the changing room environment is completely different to two years ago. The players we have here fit with a team which is top of the table at the moment. We’ve got players who aren’t getting a start who would get into any other team. We’re short on bodies but quality does outweigh quantity on occasions.
“We’re aware that it is a small squad but, as I say, we have players who aren’t getting the game time they want. There’s time between now and January for us to give them that game time and have a look at them. It could be that they need to go and get more game time somewhere else or they could still force themselves into the team here.”
Looking ahead to the next transfer window, he said: “Lee Dykes is finalising the dossier now, which we’ll give to the football club, and they’ll then tell us where we’re going shopping.
“I could fill two changing rooms with players who could improve us but we wouldn’t be able to afford them. If there are good finances available we can look at players who can get us promoted, and then maintain the league status in the next division. Or we could put all our eggs in one basket, get up, and then start again.
“Within that, we have to make sure we look after the players we’ve got in the football club who, in our opinion, can play at the next level. That’s a financial requirement that needs to be in place because we don’t want to offer contracts we can’t fulfil.
“In the next two weeks we’re hopefully going to sit down with the players and let them know our thoughts. We’ve got a number of players who are out of contract at the end of the season. Sometimes you find that players react to that challenge because they’re basically self-employed. They need to put in performances that are going to attract attention, and I know we’ve got a good number of scouts coming to our games who aren’t just coming to watch the football.”
“Being able to go into the market when it opens with the availability of money is massive,” he continued. “How much you actually spend can be dependent on how the players are performing, and what happens between now and when the window opens. I think the quality we’ve got in the squad is very good.
“I’ve said that it’s small in numbers but I’m happy with the size of it. With those players who aren’t getting pitch minutes it might be an area where things can change. Sometimes that might be my choice and on other occasions it might be down to the player and their representatives.
“In the business plan we put together at the start of the season we didn’t include any money from cup runs. That means anything we get from that route is a bonus, but it won’t ever change the fact that we go into every game to win it anyway, regardless of any rewards there might be at the end of it.
“The pleasing thing is that we don’t need to get rid of players before we can bring any others in. We’ve got the finances from the Checkatrade Trophy and potential FA Cup money. Obviously the club wants us to be successful in all competitions because that brings money into the football club which will hopefully filter down into what we’re trying to produce on the playing side of things.
“There are conversations to be had with the stakeholders but I’m not a demanding character when it comes to managing upwards. I’ve been that soldier and it doesn’t work. Having said that, I’m very good at arguing my case and I believe together we can help each other to achieve our shared goal.”