Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the Checkatrade Trophy away victory at Morecambe on Tuesday night.
“I’m sure the players have seen and read some of the comments about this competition that are being made locally and nationally but we see this as an opportunity for us to represent our football club and for us to show what we have in our changing room,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what competition it is when it comes to doing that. If it’s a competitive game we will do it as professionally as we possibly can.
“Saturday was a disappointment, we all know that, and we wanted to make sure we didn’t have another disappointment tonight. The attitude of the players was that they wanted to get their performance levels right, and that was pleasing.
“Morecambe approached the game in exactly the same way so it was a good contest. Both teams and managers showed a level of respect for each other and both were set out to win the game. Some of the flow of our play from that was very pleasing and there are some things we need to work on.”
“It was a pleasing performance and a good work-out for the players,” he said. “We showed a good mentality and we scored goals at good times, which is always important.
“We’ve also kept a clean sheet in the early stages of a cup competition with some players answering a few questions from the disappointment of the weekend. Some of our passages of play were excellent and that came down to the players showing good understanding of what we are trying to do.
“At the end of the day there are finances available for doing well in this competition and that’s vital to every club at our level. I’ve got to say, finances don’t come into it until after the final whistle because the main focus is on doing the right things out on the pitch.”
On a first goal of the season for Hallam Hope, he said: “I don’t care who puts the ball in the back of the net but one of the main things we work on is strikers getting into the right areas at the right times.
“Hallam did that in our very first attack and he got his reward for it. The goal scored by Jason Kennedy is typical of him – in fact he was three yards out so it’s actually a long range effort compared to what he usually scores from!
“He’s still on the road to getting back in but he’s got a smile on his face again. That’s because he knows he’s ready to go and he’s a very good player for us to have at our disposal.
“He’s extremely professional and we’re working with him to make sure he’s available to play games. He knows his body and he knows when it’s the right time to push it the extra mile. He got a good 60 minutes tonight and he’ll be much the better for it.”
And on first team debuts for keeper Shamal George and defender James Brown, he told us: “Goalkeepers are judged on clean sheets and I thought he did very well. He made some good decisions and he was brave enough to distribute the ball in the way we want to.
“James showed that he is the type of player we’re looking for. He’s tenacious, he plays on the front foot and he has good decision making in the tackles he makes. I thought he acquitted himself very well.
“I think there’s more to come from both lads because they are keen to do well and to kick on. I’ve got to say, having Jason Kennedy and Samir Nabi back is a boost for everybody.
"We’ve also seen Kelvin Etuhu back on the training pitch and John O’Sullivan came along to watch and to give the lads his support. He sees his specialist on Wednesday and he's hoping to get the green light to step up his rehab.
“Seeing them is like having four new signings in the building because they all add something different to the group. Things are looking good at what is a key time for us.”
With just two days left until the summer transfer window closes, he said: “We’re still actively looking to recruit new players but, and as we keep saying, we won’t make any move unless it’s right for the club.
“If that isn’t the case I still think we have a very competitive squad. I don’t want to be bringing players in just for the sake of it. New players have to be part of our puzzle and they have to be ready to do the job I ask them to do.
“We had the two targets we were looking at but one has gone because the value that someone else put on him was more than I was prepared to spend on one player. That’s how these things pan out sometimes and you accept it.
“At the moment we’re looking at a loan player and a potential permanent addition. That work is ongoing because we want to be in a position to act if the right deal comes along. I’ll be making phone calls first thing in the morning to see where we’re at with them and we’ll take it from there.
“There’s no need to panic because we like to get things right when it comes to signing players in this type of situation. If it doesn’t happen then I know that we have a very capable and competitive squad which is ready to do everything it can to be successful for this football club.”
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