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MANAGER: They'll set up to be very competitive

11 November 2016

Keith Curle ahead of the Newport County game

Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about the Saturday trip to Newport as the club looks to continue its unbeaten start to the campaign.

“I know their manager and I know how his teams perform,” he said. “They’ll be set up to be very competitive. It will be a hard fought game, probably toe-to-toe, and I don’t think the pitch will be set out for open and expansive football.

“They’re a team who will give us nothing but we won’t be taking a backward step. We know that if we do step off the gas they have players who will make our afternoon difficult. I won’t allow that to happen.”

Speaking about the early kick off, he said: “It comes down to attention to detail. We won’t change the way we prepare because what we’re doing works.

“We’re creative in how we change our training sessions to keep it interesting and we’re constantly setting challenges for the players. There’s a very good ‘us’ about the group and more and more people are feeling part of what we’re trying to create.

“Kicking off early doesn’t really make any difference at all. It just means we bring things forward but, whatever the situation, we know we have a group who will be in the right frame of mind.”

“As we’ve said before, the unbeaten run is something to be pleased about but we’re under no illusions because we know everybody wants to beat us,” he told us. “We’re seen as a scalp because we’ve had a good start.

“It’s up to us to deal with the expectancy levels and the added pressure and, if anything, that’s something we should embrace.”

With options in the squad, in terms of selection and formations, we took the opportunity to ask about the introduction of two second year scholars in the second half of the Checkatrade Trophy game against Fleetwood Town on Wednesday night.

“Cameron Salkeld got his goal and he’ll be absolutely flying,” he said. “It’s part of his career path because we’re trying to make sure we have a progressive environment, and that includes for our young players.

“I’ve spoken to Darren [Edmondson] a lot and we talked about the fact it isn’t about results at youth level. It’s about development, so whenever we speak after games it’s not about where they are in the league, or how many they scored, it’s about who is doing well.

“In this situation I didn’t select the two players who were going to be involved. I told Darren I wanted two lads on the bench, so I asked him to have a think about who he felt was ready to step up.

“He decided that Jordan [Holt] and Cameron deserved the chance and they showed us that they are very competitive and have an understanding of the roles they were asked to do when they both went onto the pitch.

“It’s a massive step up for them, but it’s credit to Darren and David [Wilkes] for the work they’ve done with the lads to make sure they’re ready when we ask for them. Young players are our future and it’s important that they also buy in to the demanding environment we’re trying to create. If they do it will make them want to perform to the best of their ability every time they go out.

“I think it’s vitally important that when a player gets an opportunity he takes it. We’ve seen that we’ve got good depth in our squad without having vast numbers in the dressing room. Jordan got an assist and Cameron got his goal, and they’ve both got to enjoy it. It’s a reward for the hard work they’ve been doing.”

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