Keith Curle ahead of the home game against NewportManager Keith Curle spoke to us about the visit of Newport County on Saturday for what is a big game for both sides.
“It’s a big game,” he said. “We’re playing at home, on a fantastic playing surface, and we’re almost at full strength. Nicky Adams and Jason Kennedy both had a full day of training on Thursday and we’ll see how they react to that today.
“Performance wise we’re getting back to how we want to be playing so we’re feeling confident. We’re creating chances and scoring goals and we’re in the chasing pack looking for the opportunity to play in the play-offs. It’s all fine margins and we know we have to look after ourselves first and foremost.”
“We all know we’ve reached the stage of the season where everything is to play for,” he commented. “If these players click, as they did at the start of the season, I’d certainly back us to go on a run of winning five games.
“Newport will come here believing in themselves. If you look at their last eight games they’ve got 16 points, and that’s promotion form. We have to understand that they’re still playing under the fear of relegation which means they will be very committed.
“They’re fighting for their lives and they have a system which suits them, which can be changed because of the flexibility they have. It’s a game where we will need to use the ball quickly so that we’re moving them around and making gaps. On top of that we need to be ruthless in front of goal and make sure we take the opportunities when they come.
“As a coaching staff we give the players all of the information they need and we make sure they know the game plan we want them to stick to. The ammunition is there, the gun is loaded and now the players need to go out there and pull the trigger.”
“We’ve been where Newport are and that’s why we know they’ll be fighting for their lives,” he said. “They’re fighting for the status of being called a professional footballer. When I first came to the club we were on a downward spiral and there was a real threat that we could have gone into non-league.
“We showed enough spirit and fight then to get ourselves out of it. We’ve put ourselves on a platform now where there is no relegation fight at this football club because of the work that has been done. We’ve got higher expectations now and we want to get out of this division.
“If you look at teams like Portsmouth and Plymouth it’s taken them four and six years to do that, so it doesn’t happen overnight. You have to make sure the foundations and pillars are in place so that if you do get into League One you can go and do a Burton and go up again because of the foundation and platform that you’ve got. When we do get out of this division we’ll be looking to get out of the next division as soon as possible.”
When asked how he will prepare for the game, the manager said: “I won’t feel any extra pressure tomorrow because this is my job. I’ll sleep like a baby tonight. I’ll be in bed at 9.30pm after I’ve been out for my tea with the coaches as normal.
“If there’s football on we’ll watch that, then I’ll go home and have a fruit tea … I don’t drink caffeine because it keeps me awake. I’ll put Netflix on and go to bed, exactly the same as I always do.
“I’ll say a prayer and cross my fingers, and I know my daughter prays for us because she wants me to win every single game. I’ll get up at around 8.30am tomorrow and watch the cooking programme which is on because I like my cooking.
“Saturday nights used to be straight out for a couple of pints but now I go home and look for recipes for what I can cook on a Sunday after I’ve watched the game back. I’m quite boring really. I wouldn’t use any of that information on a dating website because I don’t think I’d get many swipes!”
And on the final message to the players before kick off tomorrow, he said: “The message is very simple - you’ve got two games and you need to win them both, good luck.
“Go and play and perform with no fear. We’ve got good players here and if they go out and perform to the highest level we’ll get the results. They’ll get good information and it will be the right information. All they need to do is make the right decisions at the right times and business will take care of itself.”