Manager Keith Curle welcomed midfielder Jason Kennedy back into the fold this week following a fortnight’s absence for the popular midfielder.
We spoke to the United boss this morning about what it means to have such an influential player back with the group.
“Jason had an illness to contend with and he was also away from us to get a bit of treatment for a few issues he had,” he explained. “He’s come back to us now and he’s going through a rehabilitation programme which will get him back to us fully fit and ready to go.
“We’re hoping that process will be completed within a week to ten days and that will make him available for selection. We saw when he met up with the group again on Wednesday afternoon that they were all hugging him because he’s a big character and they hadn’t seen him for a while.
“He’s a key member of our squad even though you would probably say that he isn’t the most vocal. You won’t find him banging his chest and growling at people but he gets on with things and always leads by example. He’s reliable, consistent and dependable and those are attributes we’re trying to introduce and instil within our football club.”
And with just 15 days to go until the season starts, the manager confirmed that work is still ongoing as he looks to add more of the same to his squad.
“We’re still working very hard at it,” he said. “Every day we continue to look to improve the squad. There are meetings going on every week where the club looks at trying to make more and more funds available for the football department to use.
Everyone within the club knows we aren’t the finished article but we’re happy with where we are at the moment ...
“Everyone within the club knows we aren’t the finished article but we’re happy with where we are at the moment. The foundations are in place but there’s no doubt that we need a few more additions.”
One approach which fell into the public domain recently was a bid for Barrow striker Richie Bennett – a player Keith Curle has previously described as being one who is ready to make the step up to league action.
“He is one we identified as a player we would be able to work with,” the manager commented. “We made an offer, it got rejected, and now it’s down to us to see how much valuation we can put towards Richie coming here. What we have to bear in mind though is that we have other options with players out there who we feel will be able to do a similar job.
“Sometimes you need to take a gamble, and that’s exactly what we did with Charlie Wyke. A lot of people were curious about the fact we bought him for £20,000 from Middlesbrough when he was a player who hadn’t caused a stir anywhere else within league football.
“People also talked about Hartlepool as not being a success for him, but Colin West, Lee Dykes and I saw something within the player we felt we could harness and develop. We bought him for £20k and sold him for a quarter of million, so I see that as a good investment.
“We’ve seen that kind of potential with Richie Bennett even though he’s another player who is nowhere near being a finished article.
“The offer we made identified that with it being some money down and other payments based on incentives linked to how well he did within our football club.
“As I say, we don’t put all of our eggs in one basket and there are other players of that kind we’re looking at. We will only ever move if it’s right for the squad and for the club, which is why you tend to find that we don’t hit the panic button.”
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