United manager Keith Curle confirmed at his Thursday press conference that he’s getting close to having a full complement of players available as the longer-term injured players return to the fold.
“The players are going into the weekend off the back of a good performance and we’ve already reminded them that the key now is consistency,” he said. “We’ve shown over the last few weeks that we can play different styles of football to match the opposition or the occasion, so we’re getting ourselves into a good place.
“Squad wise we’re also in a good place. There are a few bumps and bruises from Tuesday’s game but that’s the same after any 90 minutes. Samir Nabi will step up his training with us over the next few days and Kelvin Etuhu will be with us again next week.
“Jason Kennedy is back in full flow and he’s an experienced player who knows his own body. As and when he needs to do something other that what the group is doing he has the freedom to get on with that, because he knows what he needs to do to stay at the top of his game. He’s deadly from three yards out so we want that attribute available as much as possible!”
As the August transfer window heads towards its close, he also confirmed that the hunt is still on to add new faces to the group.
“I’m due to have a conversation with Nigel Clibbens and Suzanne Kidd today because we’re getting to the stage now where we don’t need ‘ifs’ and ‘ands’, we need a bottom line to let me know what I’ve got and what has been made available,” he explained. “As I’ve said before, I know we’re a business that needs to do its housekeeping but I also know that any money which can be put into the football department is given to us immediately.
“That doesn’t mean it’ll get spent straight away because I’m not going to empty the bank account for the sake of it. I want players who will add to the dynamics and who will enhance an already good group.
“We’re actively looking at additions before this window closes and I have all of the football staff working on that. We’re also getting clubs ringing us to say that players are available, and sometimes those players are ones who we didn’t think would be there. That’s down to managers at Premier League, Championship and League One level having assessed their squads and come to a decision on what they need going forward from here.”
We’re also looking at players in non-league, in the south of the country and north of the border as well ...
“We’re also looking at players in non-league, in the south of the country and north of the border as well,” he told us. “I’m confident that we have a very competitive squad and if we can maintain the level of consistency and performance we’ve seen so far, with a bit more cover for key areas, then we’ll be making ourselves stronger. As we know, I’ve never been one for numbers – it’s quality I’m looking for.
“There hasn’t been any interest in any of our players but the pleasing thing is that those here now are here because it’s me who brought them to the club. Danny Grainger is the only one who is still here from before I took over. That tells you that everyone is in the building because I want them to play a part in what we need to do.”
And on the prospect of securing additions for his own dressing room, he said: “I’m working on three at the moment who I think can take us through to January and help us to cover a lot of eventualities.
“I think we’re strong in midfield with the players we have coming back into the fold, but there are other areas of the pitch where I would like strength in depth and to add balance to the squad.
“We have very good options at the moment but there isn’t any player who has a right to be picked every week. That’s been shown with some of the quality of the players we’ve left out already this season.
“It’s good to have that level of competition because it adds to the challenges I want them all to face. That’s why we’re continually looking for the right type of quality to add to the mix.”
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