Manager Keith Curle confirmed at his first press conference of the 2017/18 season that his squad are chomping at the bit as they look forward to Saturday’s first game of the campaign against Swindon Town.

“Everyone is feeling ready for it and the levels of anticipation are good,” he said. “That’s been heightened by the performance against Blackburn Rovers last Friday. The fans who turned up for that have seen the makings of what we’re trying to produce and the foundations for how we want to play.

“There’s a brand of football we want to instil at this club and much of that style was on show last season, up to the point where we were slightly interrupted by injuries. I know the supporters appreciated what we were trying to do because it meant we were getting results.

“I think they came away from our games feeling they’d had value for money. That helps people to feel part of their football club, and that’s massive for me. It’s also why we want more of the same again.”

“I’m in a position where I want to be picking up and points and getting results, but I also want us to do it by playing a free-flowing and attacking style of football,” he continued. “Our recruitment has given us options up front whereby any one of strikers we now have can play on their own, as a pair, or in other formations.

“They all like to score goals and, as Nicky Adams keeps telling them, they have players who will put the ball into the box with jam on. Their job will be to finish it off.

“Obviously one of the issues we want to address is the number of goals conceded but, if we look back to last season, we found a way of winning games when we had injuries to key personnel which sometimes left us light at the back.

“We ended the season playing some good stuff and I think the supporters home and away represented their football club really well. We’re going into the season with new dynamics, optimism and good belief from within the group in what they’re going to do.

“I’m happy that good foundations are in place and I’m looking forward to seeing a big crowd on Saturday. Our fans enjoyed the play-off games and they enjoyed the effort and application they saw from their players last season.

“We do have smaller numbers but it’s a squad with a very competitive edge. We don’t hand out starting positions on a whim. Players have to warrant it with how they train and play and that’s led to a very good tempo in training and during games. We’re looking to the group to take that attitude and application onto the pitch on Saturday afternoon.”

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