Curle on Grainger, Joyce and LambeManager Keith Curle confirmed today that captain Danny Grainger has put pen-to-paper on a new one-year deal which keeps him at the club until the summer of 2018.
The experienced left back became the first summer signing of 2014 when he returned to his native Cumbria to join the club for an initial one-year spell. He has since played 124 games and scored 17 goals for the Blues.
Meanwhile midfielder Luke Joyce (29) and winger Reggie Lambe (26) have both triggered existing appearance clauses which also keep them at the club for a further season.
Joyce returned to Brunton Park during the summer of 2015 on a two-year deal having notched up over 275 appearances with Accrington Stanley. He has made a total of 121 appearances for the club and scored three goals.
Lambe penned a one-year deal with the club in June 2016 and has scored eight goals in is 44 appearances this season.
“I think it’s always good news when players are committing their futures to the club,” Curle said. “It also shows that the club are prepared to invest in them because of the job they’ve been doing.
“Ever since I got to the club I’ve been talking about foundations, platforms and pillars and I think people like Luke Joyce and Danny Grainger have the characteristics I’m looking for to give us a level of consistency, professionalism and ability to help to provide the platform this football club needs.
“Reggie is the same because he is desperate for the team to do well and to be putting in performances which will help us to win games. These players have earned the respect of the coaching staff and of the fans.
“In some cases they’ve had difficult times with the fans and that can have a massive affect on your confidence. They overcame that and they’re now favourites.”
Speaking more about Luke Joyce, he said: “When I signed other midfield players I think Luke saw that as a direct challenge. What an answer he gave us to that and performance wise he’s probably been playing the best he’s ever played, particularly with Mike Jones beside him.
“Good players play better when they have better players beside them and that’s what happened with his partnership with Mike. We’d like him to add a few more goals to his game but his level of performance has been excellent.”
“With Danny, he’s shown us a willingness to get forward and score goals and he’s added a few more strings to his bow,” he added. “He’s playing with a confidence and an arrogance that good players play with and he has an excellent understanding of his role and responsibility as a captain and as a left sided player. He’s enjoying his football.”
“We have other players who have to show me that they are worthy of getting contracts at this football club,” he commented. “All of the players who are out of contract are fighting for their careers and, within that, I have to take into the account the budget I will have available for the start of next season.
“That’s an ever-changing figure based on how well we do this season. If we get into the play-offs we can generate a little bit more money, which I know will be made available.”
“One thing that doesn’t change is that we need bums on seats,” he told us. “The biggest disappointment for me personally – and this isn’t a club view, this is my view – is that I wanted more people in at Brunton Park. I felt the football we were serving up and the record breaking start we had to the season merited and warranted bigger support at home.
“I know they’re out there because they came to the Everton game and over 6,000 of them went to Liverpool. Is it the case that they only come to the big games? Do they get treated correctly; do they get value for money; is the product and brand we’re supplying worthy of their support?
“We need to answer all of these things as a football club because within that I base my incentive packages on where I think we will be as a club. I thought the better the players did and the more money they earned would be levelled out by more bums on seats. The fact is that we haven’t had the level of support I expected to get.”
With three of the out of contract player sorted, we wondered when decisions would be made on the remaining players who are looking for deals come the end of the campaign.
“In my own mind I’ve made decisions on probably 80% of the squad as we look ahead to next season,” he said. “What I would say is that just because players have contracts it doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to be playing here next season.
“If someone has a contract, but doesn’t fit the direction we now want to go, the likelihood is that they will be told to go and pursue a career elsewhere, or spend a year on the sidelines which could be damning for their career.
“That isn’t a threat in any way shape or form. It’s how I deal with the players - professionally and honestly. I know players want to be playing football and players were brought to this football club because I thought they were better than what we had. Some of the players haven’t performed and that can be because of a culmination of systems, personnel, environment or travel.
“There are a lot of different reasons why players don’t perform and sometimes if they aren’t getting games here they need to go elsewhere. At the moment we’re getting to a stage where we’ve got an abundance of players and there’s a real competitive edge.
“To get into the 18 is an achievement and to get onto the pitch is another achievement. We want to maintain that level of competition going forward by adding more quality and depth to the squad.”