Keith Curle ahead of the visit of Notts CountyManager Keith Curle spoke to us ahead of the visit of Notts County at his Friday afternoon press conference.
“The aim has to be for us to finish in the play-off places,” he said. “We set out at the start of the season to be progressive and, with us finishing tenth last time round, the natural progression for us were the play-offs as the objective for this season.
“It was vitally important to get the win and clean sheet last Saturday because it helped to settle a few people down. The working environment has been good and very buoyant and it sets us up nicely for what we want to achieve at the weekend.”
“We’ve kept things simple again because we knew goals and clean sheets would come,” he added. “Some of the goals we’ve conceded have been down to the basic decision making process the players have gone through and it’s very difficult to replicate that in a training environment.
“All you can do is accept that errors have been made and make sure you do everything you can not to repeat it. There is still a lot of work to do, but that’s the same throughout the club. Again, that stands for the short, medium and long term.
“Our focus right now is on the short term because we have six games to go and we want points from all of them. It’s in our hands and if we continue to win games between now and the end of the season we’ll end up no worse off than where we are.”
Speaking about the mood around the training ground this week, he said: “It’s been a good place to be. Goals and wins change the mentality at every club because it gives everyone confidence and belief in what they’re doing.
“The players have bought into what we’re trying to do, even through the tough run we’ve just had, and I don’t think that will change. Now is the time to get on a run of form and finish the season on a high.
“We’ve got Jabo [Ibehre] and Jason [Kennedy] chomping at the bit to help us with that. They were both disappointed that I didn’t use them last week because they want to play their part. The decision for me this week is whether I include them from the start or leave them to later in the game.
“There are some good, difficult decisions for me to make, but I don’t mind that. With players coming back we’ve got healthy competition in every area of the pitch.
“We also have Nicky Adams biting away like a caged animal in the background because he’s desperate to be back. He does not want to be in that cage at all. He’s been pushing the medical team to let him does his rehab outside so that he can be close to the group.
“The medical lads know what they’re doing and he’s been kept under control so that when he does come back he’ll be able to fire on all cylinders.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s game against Notts County, he said: “They’ve had a revival under Kevin [Nolan] and I think he’s done well to deal with a club that was on a downward slide.
“He’s very quickly put his vision in place and they are a team who can go very direct. If they’re in possession and on top they almost play 4-2-4 and they have good physical presence with some very strong strikers. They get the ball into the dangerous areas consistently and that means they are going to create chances.
“I think you’ll see contrasting styles from two managers who want to play the game a certain way, but who have had to adapt to life in League Two. There’s a lot of experience in their side and they’ve found a way to get the results they needed. It’ll be a good test but we’re at a stage of the season where it’s about results, not performances.”
“This is an opportunity where the players and supporters have got to come together,” he concluded. “The fans have done their bit to help to get rid of the nerves which were there, and that’s a massive thank you from me for that. If they can keep it up we’ll be even more thankful, and let’s hope we’ll be where we all want to be.”