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MANAGER: It's going to feel like a home game

16 September 2016

Keith Curle ahead of the trip to Blackpool

Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about the trip to face Blackpool as large parts of Cumbria prepare to relocate to Bloomfield Road on Saturday afternoon.

“It’s a fantastic level of support,” he said. “I think we took six thousand to Liverpool so to get three thousand going to Blackpool is absolutely fantastic.

“What that means is that we need to make sure we turn up as a playing group and as a football department. We have to make sure we give our supporters something to cheer about because it makes a huge difference to have that level of backing and support.

“There’s a responsibility there now to make sure we showcase what we’re about. The away support we’ve had since I’ve been here is phenomenal. I’ve taken that on board and it is very much respected.”

“It’s going to feel like a home game,” he agreed. “I think we'll probably have more than 50% of the crowd, which is virtually unheard of in League Two. That shows the popularity we've got within the football club. There will be families who go to Blackpool and one half will come to the game as the other half go to the beach.

“We're very aware of the surroundings there after they were kind enough to open their doors to us last season, so we know what it's like behind the scenes. It's a fantastic stadium and we've got to say a massive thank you, because they helped us out at a time when we needed it.

“We'll be very respectful, not only as a football team but as a football club when we go there. Credit has to go to our supporters, they travel in their numbers and make a lot of noise, but they're also very respectful.

“It will be a good occasion and it's been a while since I've been the manager of a football club which has taken 3,000 fans to an away league game - it's excellent.”

“Blackpool have a very good squad,” he continued. “You’d probably say they haven’t had the results the quality of the squad would merit but a game like this is a good opportunity for them to show everyone what they’re about.

“They’ve had a number of seasons of relegations and that has affected their fan base. A lot of what has come out of Blackpool in recent seasons has been about what’s happening away from the pitch with demonstrations and things like that. It’s very difficult for the manager to keep the group in focus when that’s going on but he’s been doing that well.

“I don't think it will be an open and expansive game of football. It’ll be a very lively encounter with both teams trying to put the other on the back foot. We know the attributes of a lot of their players and, if it does get physical, I think our players are looking forward to that.”

On seeing midfielder Brad Potts again, he said: “I think there’s a welcoming committee lined up to meet Brad. He was a player with us who we identified as being somebody who could go on to play at a higher level.

“In my own mind I think he should have stayed with us for one more season and I think he could then have gone on to do just that. He’s very versatile as a League Two player and he could go on to play in League One or the Championship if it’s at the right time and with the right club.”

“We’re going into the game with a clean bill of health and that has given us a very competitive squad where everyone is chomping at the bit,” he confirmed. “We’ve got a full complement of players training with us on a daily basis and we’re seeing the competitive edge we’ve been trying to create since day one.

“It increases the intensity levels in training and it makes it very easy to go out and replicate that on a match day. It does give me selection problems because the more players I’ve got to choose from the harder it is. This season we’ve gone for quality instead of quantity and, even though it’s a smaller group, they are all fit and raring to go and they all want to be successful.”

“We have to bear in mind it’s only one step from a draw to a win,” he commented. “There’s an attitude within the group that if we don’t win, and we can’t turn our chances into goals, what we don’t do is get beat.

“The start to the season has been very pleasing but can we now turn those draws into three points? I’d say that within the results we’ve had so far there have been performances we have been very happy with and the opposition will have been happy to have got something from it.

“Games will come where we haven’t had the lion’s share of possession but we will go on to win it with just one or two shots on target. That’s the way football can be sometimes."

On the reports that Derek Asamoah has been training with the club this week, he said: “I can confirm that he has been in with us to help him to keep fit. It doesn’t matter how much work you do away from a football environment, there is nothing better than full time training.

“Derek knows this club, he knows me and he knows how we train. For him to gain employment he needs to be football fit so he made a call to ask if he could come in and train. I accepted that request and he’s showcasing what he’s got.

“Like I say, I know a lot about him but circumstances would have to be right for us to take it further. I’ve known him for a long, long time and I’ve got a lot of time for him. As with any player who comes into our building, they need to impress.

“I am surprised that he hasn’t got himself fixed up with something because he still has the pace and he’s still a threat. He has an excellent work ethic and the decision for me to release him at the time was because he wasn’t getting as much game time as he needed.

“When you’re at the age of 33 or 34 you need to be playing 90 minutes as often as possible and, in my opinion, I wasn’t going to be able to give him that. We were using him more and more as an impact player so we felt it would be better for him to continue his career elsewhere.”

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