The club confirmed this week that talks with manager Keith Curle about his contract are set to take place this side of New Year as he moves into the final six months of his current term in January.
Speaking about the proposed discussions today he remained relaxed about the situation, insisting that there were more important matters to deal with as we head into a busy period.
“I think we all know that manager’s contracts and player’s contracts have a start and end date,” he said. “Within that timeframe there are appraisals and reviews which need to be done, but that’s no different to anybody else in any other walk of life.
“Is there any added pressure on me because my contract is up at the end of the season? No, not at all. I do my job and I have a good understanding of the role and the expectations placed on me from the football club.
“I have a decent understanding of where I want this club to go and where I think it can go. All of that is stacked in the right direction, in my opinion, so the conversations that need to take place will happen when the football club put it in the diary. They’re the ones who offer the contracts, so they will set the date.”
“This is my job and I get paid to do the best I can,” he added. “I make decisions I think are right for the football club. That can’t change, and it won’t change, because that’s how I do my job.
“I take a very professional view of what’s needed from my role as manager of this club, whether I’ve got two years, two months, one week or just six days left to go. The betterment of the football team in terms of gaining points and results is always paramount in my thoughts.”
It was also revealed this week that the club is currently at 99% of its permitted wage cap, under current Salary Cost Management Protocols, so we wondered if that would have any bearing on his transfer activities with the January window just over two weeks away.
“Ever since I came to the club I’ve needed to be creative with the budget and with the wages available, and with the spending power at my disposal,” he explained. “That won’t change because we know we can’t simply collect players on salaries and have them sat in the stands.
“We’ve put together a competitive squad, but there are still areas where I think we can improve. We’d like to do that inside the transfer window, but the finances will have to be balanced because I know I need to show good housekeeping.
“Part of the role I have is that I need to be able to work with the budget given to me by the football club by getting the maximum out of it. Within that, if people say the expectations are to finish in the top half with that budget this season, then that’s an achievable target.
“If you start to say that you’re going to go and win the league then you have to acknowledge that you’re competing with other teams who have more spending power. That’s when it becomes a difficult task - but it’s one we’re striving to aim for.”
So had lessons been learned from last January when the club found itself in a similar situation?
“I’ve learned to turn my phone off during transfer windows!” he said. “I’m also going to unplug the club phones so that any players we deem to be assets to the football club don’t end up going anywhere else.
“The foundation of the squad is there. We’re sitting here now, and I think it’s one defeat in eight or nine games, so that tells you the willingness to not get beat is there. I think we can win more games during the second half of the season.
“There is a good understanding of what is required individually and collectively within the squad but there is also more to come from them. There are more goals to come, more clean sheets to come, and more to come from players like John O’Sullivan, who has had a stuttering start to the season because of his injury.”
“We know we’ve lost lots of creativity and goals from Jason Kennedy and Nicky Adams,” he added. “They have good qualities and they’re big misses because of their character and personalities.
“When we were missing key personnel last season we found another way to win games and that hasn’t changed. We’ve got different dynamics in the building and we’re looking to bring in other dynamics. My job is to get the best out of those individuals, within a team framework, so they benefit individually, and we benefit as a football club.”
“What we can do in January is finance dependant,” he confirmed. “I try to spend money like it’s my own, so I want good value for money. Sometimes you’re shopping at a car boot sale and you pick up a bargain. Other times you get something which is tried and tested with a few miles on the clock.
“I’m looking at both ends of the spectrum - emerging talent, talent which hasn’t been uncovered, and talent which has been proven elsewhere. There’s a wide spectrum of ability I think we can attract to the football club.
“I’m not going in with bags of money, but we try and pay the affordable price, and ultimately what we think is the right price. We’re looking at young, developing players from Premier League clubs, as well as players at non-league clubs who have been brought to our attention.
“Ultimately, it’s all about finances and whether I can make good housekeeping decisions for the football club. I only take things to the table that I think we have an opportunity to pursue. I don’t like rejection, so I try to take deals to the football club that I think are affordable.
“The groundwork has already been done between myself, Lee Dykes, Colin West and now Dan Watson. We’re always on the lookout and we’ve got a good professional network. We watch a lot of games and a lot of individual players with the criteria of what I’m looking for in certain positions. If there are players out there who can add different dynamics to improve us, then we’re in the market.”
Click HERE to watch an interview with Keith Curle on iFollow United now.