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MANAGER: It’s a derby game and I know our fans will be very vocal

10 February 2017

Keith Curle ahead of the visit of Blackpool on Saturday

Manager Keith Curle spoke to us ahead of the visit of Blackpool on Saturday about what he expects to be a very good game.

“It’s a derby game and I know our fans will be very local,” he said. “We took nearly 3,000 to their place and I expect they will travel in good numbers to come up here as well.

“It’s the kind of atmosphere the players will relish. Our players enjoy it when their supporters are behind them and I’m sure they’ll go out there to compete and give the fans plenty to shout about.”

“We’re coming up against a team that likes to get the ball forward, win the first contact and then get players to join in and play,” he explained. “They’ve drawn their last four games and they’ve been quite solid.
“They’ll be slightly disappointed with where they are in the league, with the players and budget they’ve got, and you’d expect that they’d be looking for a top ten finish at least.

“Likewise, we don’t hide away from the fact that we’re chasing Plymouth. That’s our mindset. Plymouth play Exeter this weekend so, if we do our business and take care of our jobs, we’re either going to be three points closer to second place or potentially three points further away from Exeter. That’s where our focus is this weekend.”

“Blackpool have a few injury concerns, as every team has, and I think it will be an open game which will be a test for both sides,” he commented. “It’ll come down to who does better in the opposition box.

“I watched them on Tuesday and they’ve changed their formation from when we played them in September. The change has certainly suited Brad Potts, with him playing behind the striker, because it relieves him of defensive responsibilities and it lets him get forward and try to score goals.

“I know he’ll want to come back and perform in front of the fans who gave him a lot of backing when he was a young man starting his career.”

Speaking about the reserve game against Burnley earlier in the week, he said: “It was a good opportunity for some players to get valuable game time at a good tempo and level of intensity.

“Games are better than training in some circumstances and we got out of it what we needed to get out of it. We had trialists involved and we’ve invited one of the lads back for a continued look.

“We’ll try to arrange another game the week after next so we can do the same again. Part of our due diligence is that we like to look at what’s available because we want to make sure that if we do make a judgement it’s for the right reasons.”

“I think we invested well in the January transfer window and we certainly haven’t spent all of the money from the Charlie Wyke deal,” he told us. “There is wriggle room there for us if we feel we want to do more. We still need the gates to increase and hopefully that will continue to happen for us.

“In the ideal scenario I’d probably like to have another three players of the right type of quality we’re looking for. However, I’m very happy and I think we’ve come out of January stronger as a squad than we were going into it. I think we’ve brought in some good players who give us good options. We’re going to need that between now and the end of the season.”

And on the talks with Mark Gillespie, Danny Grainger, Luke Joyce, Jason Kennedy and Michael Raynes about their contract offers, he told us: “There are ongoing conversations and it is firmly with Nigel [Clibbens] to deal with.

“We’re at a point where one is agreed, signed and in a draw for a release date which we’re all happy with. We’ve offered the contracts because we want all five to sign and it would be nice to get the loose ends tied up quickly.”

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