Keith Curle ahead of the Morecambe home gameManager Keith Curle spoke to us ahead of the visit of Morecambe on Saturday as he looks for his side to put on a performance their hard work merits.
Speaking first about the visitors, he said: “They’re a team playing with confidence at the moment. They got a very favourable result against us last season up here, but we’ve had some good results and games against them as well.
“I think there’ll be opportunities for both sides in the game because both teams have an attacking mindset. I know we hurt them this season by taking Jamie Devitt and Shaun Miller from their squad because they were two of their quality players.
“They’ll be well organised because I know Jim Bentley very well. I’ve got a lot of time for him as a man and also as a football manager. He gets players to believe in how he wants to do things and I think that’s very important.
“As a football club they’re going through a very difficult time at the moment, because of situations off the field, and that gives you a different test of your managerial skills. Ultimately you need to get through all that and put your team out on a Saturday with a focus and a game plan which will continue to get results. Jim has done exceptionally well to do that.”
“We haven’t got the best team, or the best budget, but we’re very competitive. We’re third in the league on merit because we have good ability and good game plans. We’ve lost three games in 25 and no matter what happens, it’s how you react if things don’t quite go your way.
“The best reaction from us this weekend will be to put in a performance we can be happy with and proud of.”
On the injuries to midfielder Mike Jones and defender Danny Grainger, he said: “Mike has been told that he can start straight line jogging. That’s really good news because it gets him back out on the grass. He’ll be monitored and controlled by our medical department as he does that.
“It’s very difficult to put a timescale on it because it comes down to the individual and how quickly they heal. Hallam Hope had a very similar injury last year and he looked fine with straight line running. As soon as he had to deviate it caused him problems.
“What we don’t want Mike to do is put too much pressure on his tendon if it isn’t ready for that kind of work. We’ll assess him weekly, but as to when he’ll be back with us – how long is a piece of string? It could be two weeks or it could be five weeks, let’s just wait and see.
“Danny Grainger is out of his brace and he’s started his rehab programme. He’s still in the gym but he’s got his knee joint moving and he’s starting to get some strength back into it.
“He’s like a bear with a sore head and he’s desperate to be out there again. Part of his challenge now is injury management with Neil Dalton, because he needs to keep his focus so that he doesn’t start pushing himself too quickly.”