Keith Curle ahead of the visit of Exeter CityManager Keith Curle spoke to us ahead of the visit of Exeter City on Saturday as the squad looks to bounce back from last weekend’s disappointment at Newport.
“There was a feeling after the Newport game that nobody enjoyed,” he said. “Walking into the changing room after a defeat was something we hadn’t encountered as a group. There were things on the day we weren’t happy with and things we know we have to improve on.
“I likened it to the feeling you get when your son or daughter is going to university. You know it’s going to happen, you don’t want it to happen, but it does. We walked into the changing room and it’s probably been the first opportunity I’ve had to tell the players well done on their excellent start to the season.”
“Last weekend had been and gone so we’re looking to start a new run,” he commented. “It’s an opportunity to go again, gather more momentum and continue the fine work the players have been doing.
“They’ve got the rewards through a lot of hard work and that hasn’t changed this week. The result changed but the work load, the attention and the application has been exemplary from the players.”
On what we can expect from the opposition tomorrow, he said: “They’ve got some good players and I don’t think they’ll finish where they are now.
“They don’t seem to start seasons very well but they always finish well. We’ve been looking at videos of Exeter’s last couple of games and one of their strengths is that I’m sitting here now and I don’t honestly know what formation they’re going to play.
“They won’t know what formation we’re going to play, or what personnel we’re going to play, so it’s going to make it very interesting. That’s part and parcel of it, the first 10 or 15 minutes might be shuffling the pack and seeing what formation they’re playing. With that we always have one eye on how we can hurt them.”
“It’s a game where we come up against a manager who has had a fantastic history there,” he told us. “There are things being discussed behind the scenes, we know that, but he’s been there for a very long time and implemented a style of football that suits him and the players he brings to the football club.
“I think their away form will be right up there in the league at the moment, so they will be dangerous. They can play on the counter-attack and they’ve got good footballers. They have weaknesses but they can also cause problems if you allow them to.
“We want to go out and start another run, it’s easier to do that with everybody behind us and I’m expecting a big Carlisle United crowd again. I’ll never take the support for granted. It’s vitally important the fans come and enjoy the football we’re trying to play at the same time as seeing a very committed performance.”
“The pleasing thing is that we aren’t where we are by accident,” he continued. “Being a team which is difficult to beat has got to be a format for success. We did have a few too many draws early in the season but we earned every one and we could have potentially got more out of those games.
“There will be games as we go through the season where we’ll dominate and not win, and there will be others where we don’t play as well but still get a result. We can’t pick and choose who we beat and when we beat them, which is why we’ve got a level of respect for every game.
“The level of preparation is the same for every game whether it’s Plymouth or Portsmouth at the top of the division or Newport at the bottom. The result at Newport wasn’t down to a lack of preparation. Football is full of errors, which is why so many people go and watch it.”
The manager also confirmed at his press conference that he wouldn’t be surprised if the recent run brought more scouts than usual to the Brunton Park door.
“I’ll be very surprised if we don’t get offers for some of our players in January,” he said. “Tom Miller and Mark Gillespie stick out as players I think are playing well at the moment. I wouldn’t be surprised if people come in and test our arm for Mark because he’s been doing very well. There have been scouts watching our games but there’s been no serious approach.
“When I first came to the club he’d been very inconsistent with his injuries, but he’s over that now. He’s worked extremely hard and he’s seeing the benefits of working with Simon Tracey. I’d put him in the top two in this division.
“Discussions have taken place with him already in terms of a new contract. We’re waiting for that to get finalised, and there are different situations at the football club, so it’s about getting the timing right.
“Mark is seen as an asset by the football club, as other players are as well. The ideal situation would be to get that sorted before January, but we’re a business which strives on finances. If we’re offering contracts out we’ve got to make sure we can afford them.”
Speaking about what we can expect to see him wear on match days going forward, having stuck with the same attire through the unbeaten run, he said: “My suit has gone. I went shopping yesterday, and I really didn’t like it.
“It’s not that I don’t like spending money, I was just trying to get something that looked right and appropriate. I’ve got some new clobber, hopefully we get the right result and you see it for a long time. I bought a bit of quality so it will last if needed.”