Keith Curle on the ongoing search for new facesUnited boss Keith Curle confirmed today that he came close to adding to the squad ahead of tomorrow’s game against Barnet until some unexpected barriers got in the way.
“Our recruitment process is such that we don’t just pull names out of a hat or pluck them out of thin air,” he explained. “There’s work that goes in to everybody we identify. It’s a changing environment because players I was speaking to at the beginning of the week have found that their situations have changed at the clubs they’re currently with.
“One minute a club has made a player available for loan and we identify him as a player we can use. We make an approach to try to gain permission to speak to him, and the next thing he’s taken off the transfer list and reinstated in their squad. That’s one of the stumbling blocks I’ve already faced this week.
“Other targets we’ve looked at have gained employment elsewhere, in higher divisions, but that shows we’re looking at the right calibre of player. I have demands on myself and my staff that we bring in the right quality. I want players with skill sets we don’t already have, but it isn’t easy when you have to make it all work.
“Grimsby have been able to bring in five players without having to make players available first, for example. They’ve made people available now, having added to their squad, but we’re in a situation where I’ve had to trim the squad down considerably to create room to now bring people in.
“We came very close to seeing new faces today. I met with a player yesterday [Thursday] but unfortunately we weren’t able to tie up the finances for tomorrow. Another problem I had was I reached an agreement with one player, but the manager in question said he wanted the player to be available for him for this Saturday. We’re dealing with other clubs and they all have their own set of priorities, so we have to be respectful of that.”
“We’re as confident as we can be that we’ll get players in before the deadline,” he confirmed. “As I say, in my mind I was confident I was going to have two players sat in the changing room today, but other football clubs then make decisions regarding their players. It’s completely and totally out of my hands.
“If and when needed I’ve got targets in mind for various positions. That’s an ongoing situation, it isn’t just because of the transfer window. We’re always striving to improve, there are some very good players out there with different skill sets that I think we can harness and embrace.
“There are other players out there who haven’t reached their full potential, it might not be household names we’re bringing in but they will have skill sets we can adapt and harness.”
And with the transfer kitty set to receive a boost from a fan-led crowd funding initiative, he said: “It’s a fantastic gesture, it really is. When I heard about it from the football club it does make you feel that there is a unity which is spreading to the terraces.
“Everything tomorrow will be about Carlisle United. I think until yesterday Barnet had sold a small number of tickets, so the attendance tomorrow is going to be all about Carlisle. It will be about what we can bring to the game and what we can bring to the terraces. Financially it’s about what money they can support my job with.
“I think Wycombe did something similar from the beginning of last season, but it’s the first time it’s happened here. I’ve got to say I’m amazed. I was in Tesco the other day doing my shopping and I met a gentleman in there who couldn’t wait to tell me what the fund was on. He said he guarantees me that it’ll get to ten grand by Saturday, and said there was an option for people to donate cash if they aren’t familiar with PayPal. It’s a fantastic gesture and it shows a fantastic unity.”
“My message last week about getting fans into Brunton Park was a heartfelt plea,” he told us. “I’m trying to give the fans everything they want as a city, in terms of a football club and a manager who are striving to improve. We need increased revenue to maintain what we’re trying to create.
“This isn’t a criticism, but I was expecting the crowds to improve compared to what they’ve been. I think if other teams had spent a large majority of the season so far in the automatic promotion places, they would have all hoped for a few more on the gate every week. I know they’re out there because we got 18,000 against Everton, and no more than 5,000 of those were Everton fans.
“I know we have fans out there. I’m trying to set up a webcam in the city centre so I can find out and name and shame people who aren’t at Brunton Park on a Saturday afternoon. I want to know the reasons why!”
And with the latest on injured duo Danny Grainger and Mike Jones, he said: “Danny has seen the specialist and he’s had the all-clear to go onto phase two of his rehabilitation, which is getting his knee moving and getting the strength into it.
“We’re hoping within a short period of time he’ll be able to do field-based running and work. Danny is going to be slightly longer than Mike Jones at present. Danny is a good healer and he’s working extremely hard, as is Mike Jones.
“Mike has upped his rehabilitation. He’s field-based but not football orientated yet. He’s out and doing a lot of work on the grass. As two characters they’re showing how to conduct yourself when you’re injured. The work rate and attention levels they’re putting into their rehabilitation is exemplary.”
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