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MANAGER: What we don't have are any sulkers

Keith Curle on Shaun Miller, Hallam Hope and confidence

29 December 2017

It came as no surprise to anyone that striker Shaun Miller’s stunning second half volley against Accrington Stanley walked away with the division’s Goal of the Weekend award as he showed, yet again, fantastic poise and technique to register his sixth strike of the campaign.

Already in the running for Goal of the Year, courtesy of another wonder-hit against Barnet, he received high praise from his manager for his professional approach as he continues to fight for a regular starting place.

“It was a great finish,” Curle agreed. “He’s another individual who has been chomping at the bit and biding his time. There hasn’t been any talk of unrest or fall-outs, he just knows he has to earn his right to start.

“Putting in performances like that will get him more and more game time. He’s a good professional and a good person, he’s a family man and he lives his life right. He’s got a good understanding of his role within the team and he’s got that hunger where he wants to be playing.”

“Shaun typifies the feeling within the group,” he continued. “He’s disappointed because he wants to start and play every week, but he understands that we do things for a reason, and that when his opportunity comes he has to take it.

“He’s scored another fantastic goal, and he’ll enjoy that, but when he comes on he works extremely hard for the team and he gives defences a torrid time. People will rightly talk about the quality of the goal, but there is so much more about him and his game.

“He knows what he brings to the group and he knows there are still areas to improve on. I thought he was a breath of fresh air when he came on and that’s all we can ask from all of our players.”

Speaking more about team selections, he told us: “The players all know that decisions have to be made, and I base my career on making those decisions for the betterment of the team.

“What we haven’t got, and I’m pleased we haven’t got, are sulkers who affect the mentality of the group. That takes a certain kind of strength. Negativity does court company and players know they can come and speak to me if they aren’t happy.

“If players are playing well and they have the shirt, it can get frustrating for those who are working hard and waiting. Hallam [Hope] is an example of someone else who took his chance.

“He’s enjoying his football and he’s enjoying the positivity he’s being surrounded with. He isn’t being asked to do things he could never do, and that’s something we’re introducing across the group.

“We’re working our players off Key Performance Indicators now because the more players we get hitting their individual KPIs, the better our collective performance will be.

“The other pleasing thing is being able to look at the bench and knowing I have options. We’re missing key players, we know that, but it’s still a very competitive squad. We’re still able to have players doing jobs they're comfortable with and getting us results.

“We have goals in the team and there’s a forward-thinking mentality because we know the rewards are there. We can cause teams problems in open play and with a slightly more direct style, depending on how teams want to come and play against us.

“The more positive results we get at home, the more teams won’t want to come and enter into a game of football. It’s then about us being patient and moving the ball with a good understanding of where we want it to be.

“We work on different scenarios in and out of possession and we have the flexibility within the squad to effectively use a number of formations. The attributes we have mean we can also still be unpredictable, and we can change things even without making substitutions.

"Hopefully confidence will continue to grow and we’ll continue to use those attributes to our advantage.”

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