Keith Curle ahead of the Portsmouth game at Brunton ParkManager Keith Curle spoke to us about the weekend game against Portsmouth at his Friday afternoon press conference.
“They’re a good side and we know we’ll have to work hard to get anything from the game,” he said. “I think they’re the favourites to get automatic promotion this season, as they were last season. If they don’t make it this time round they’ll be the favourites next season as well, simply because of what they have in their armoury.
“With the level of support they’ve got they’re a Championship football club as a minimum. There are reasons why they’re in League Two at the moment but they have a very good manager who has a way he wants them to play. It takes time to get the whole football club in tune with that because he’s turning them round from having been on a downward spiral.
“There are different pressures for them because of the levels of expectation they have. Their fans will expect them to win every week and that just doesn’t happen. Being favourites week in and week out can affect you if the mindset isn’t right, so they have to deal with that.
“We don’t mind being underdogs. We went into the Doncaster game as underdogs but it comes down to what you do on the day that counts. We’re a good team with good skill sets and we know we have nothing to fear in this division.”
“It’s a game for us all to look forward to,” he said. “We’ll make sure we’re prepared individually and collectively to give ourselves the best opportunity to gain points. When you think about it, who is to say we aren’t going to win the next 15 games, because that’s what we’re going to try to do.
“That’s why we want the fans to come. If they don’t come now then I haven’t got a clue what else I can do. We’re playing well, we’re playing a good style of attacking football and we’ve got an aggressive attitude and plenty of ability on the pitch.
“We’ve got goal scorers and dogged defenders and we’re trying to do the best we can against every opposition. On top of that we’re enjoying what we’re doing and for a lot of people, when they come to the game, their focus is on the pitch.
“It’s not about who is in the technical area or the director’s box, it’s about the players who are wearing their shirt with pride and performing for us. I know there were issues before I came to the club, and there’ll be issues after I leave, but I’m here to put out the best team I can and to make sure it’s one our fans can be proud of.”
“I know the youngsters are on half time holiday but if they’re around, and they’ve been good, bring them to the game,” he added. “The children are the future of this football club and it would be lovely to see them come down here. If people have issues around not coming to watch us that I can help with then come and see me.
“I’ll speak to anybody about what I’m trying to do. There are certain things I won’t be able to do anything about, but all I can do is my job. All I want is for our crowd to keep getting bigger with every game we play.”
Speaking about his dismissal from the technical area in the game at Wycombe last weekend, he said: “I found out that I didn’t get sent to the stand for being too good looking. That was me interpreting it wrong with a bit of wishful thinking. There’s no touchline ban but I’ve been asked to make a contribution and send a Christmas card to the FA again.
“The process is that you get a charge sheet, which is very much loaded, and if you want to contest it in any way, shape or form it will cost you more money. That’s a very good deterrent. You accept it, you pay your fine and you get the opportunity in the summer, when you have your manager’s meetings, to address certain issues you think will help.
“I think you’ve got to be able to voice your opinion in the technical area but I do acknowledge that managers and coaches do go overboard. The industrial language does have to be curbed because we have paying public who are watching us. As a manager we have a responsibility to make sure that our conduct is befitting of our role as a key representative of the club.”
On the current injury situation, he said: “Danny Grainger and Jason Kennedy are the only two missing. Jason was back at the training ground today and he’s had his bandages off. He’ll start his rehabilitation now. He’ll be checked again after three weeks to make sure everything is going exactly as we hoped it would.
“Danny is back on grass and he’ll be joining in with training with us next week, but still with a degree of oversight from our medical department. He’s about a week to ten days away from him telling us that he’s available for selection.”