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MANAGER: I have looked higher up the divisions to see if there is any potential there for us

Keith Curle on his new signings, keeper competition and Premier League interest

6 July 2017

United boss Keith Curle spoke more this week about the four new arrivals who have joined the club so far during the summer transfer window.

Speaking first about Brentford loanee Jack Bonham, he said: “He has all of the attributes which could see him become a very good keeper. He’s been given another contract at his parent club and that shows they’ve identified the qualities he has.

“I think he’s now at an age and a stage of his career where he needs to be tested. He has focus and strength of character but I think you learn most about a goalkeeper when they make a mistake. It’s how he reacts to that, if it happens, and I’m sure he’ll show us that he can learn from it and move on.

“He’s going to see a lot of the ball with the way we play and he’s a lad who is very confident and comfortable with his distribution. This is a fantastic opportunity for him to get the game time he’s been lacking and it’s a chance he’s determined to grasp with both hands.”

And on defender Tom Parkes, he said: “I like my back line to have balance and he will help to bring that with the fact he has an excellent and reliable left foot. He won’t be bullied and he can also use the football as well.

“We had a very good conversation when we first met and I was able to outline some key areas where I felt a move to Carlisle United would help him to improve his game. He listened and bought into that and it's testament to the character he has that he chose to take all of that on board and come up here to join us.

“I think he’s one the fans will take to because he gives the team everything when he plays. He may not appear to be the most vocal but he organises and advises and he gets the best out of his team mates.”

Also adding to the spine of the team is midfielder Kelvin Etuhu, who joined the club from Bury on a two-year deal at the end of June.

“He adds to what is an extremely competitive midfield,” Curle told us. “I want to get him going and lift him to a level where he’s playing 40-plus games a season. Within the environment we’ve created he needs to be at the top of his game to get selected, but I think he’ll rise to that.

“He won’t walk into this team because those around him are also fighting for their places. He’s determined to come here and do well and he’s one who adds some excellent dynamics to what is already a good area of the pitch.

“I think he’ll have an impact in the dressing room as well and I know he wants to be part of a successful team. If we can get the best out of him we’ll have ourselves a very, very good player.”

And completing the quartet is former-Everton forward Hallam Hope, who joins the club on a permanent basis having spent an enjoyable period on loan with the Cumbrians just two years ago.

“Hallam has real attributes I like,” Curle confirmed. “He has pace and a willingness to work and he can score goals. Because of his work ethic and desire to do as much as he can for the team he’s been used wider than I think he would have liked in recent seasons.

“It’s almost been the graveyard shift on the left hand side of a three but I see him as working with another forward, or as an individual up front.

“At times he will close the whole back four down on his own. His approach is almost Ian Rush-esque because they are the type of player who will do the work of two. With a willing partner, which could easily be Shaun Miller, the pair of them will cause absolute havoc.”

We’re in a recruitment cycle whereby players will see new players coming into the building and they will view them as direct competition ...

Keith Curle

And on potential other new recruits, he said: “We’re in a recruitment cycle whereby players will see new players coming into the building and they will view them as direct competition.

“At the moment I’m looking at everybody as being able to do a job for me and as being someone I will need at some point during the campaign. If a player sees someone as a threat, and he thinks he isn’t going to get the game time his career needs, they might come and see me and say they don’t think their immediate future is here with us.

“That can happen, but I still think every player we’ve signed can reach the level I think I need from them. If they do they can step up to the mark and get more game time this season. We have a small squad so trimming it isn’t in the forefront of my mind.

“The 16 or 17 players who came back makes for a competitive group. We do need a few more in terms of numbers and part of my job is to try and be slightly creative with what I’ve got in the building.”

“I have looked higher up the divisions to see if there is any potential for us there,” he explained. “What you find at Premier League clubs is that players want to stay there as long as they possibly can to showcase what they’ve got.

“It’s a massive jump from Premier League development to League Two so sometimes it’s about getting the players at the right time. We’ve posted our interest in a couple of players and what you usually find is that the more people who know about it, the more competition there is. That’s why we stay quiet on that kind of thing until we’re in a position where it’s done.

“I’m also still trying to bring in another goalkeeper. I’m speaking to a Championship club who have just brought another keeper in, which gives them four to look at. We’re still looking to bring in competition for the number one shirt.

“I put a lot of faith and trust into Simon Tracey for that. Simon will be the one who decides who plays in goal for the first game of the season. He knows how I want to play and he knows the attributes the goalkeeper has to have. Whoever comes in and gets the shirt will have earned it.”

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