Keith Curle ahead of the trip to Exeter CityManager Keith Curle spoke to us ahead of what is a massive game against Exeter City on Saturday evening.
“It’s obviously going to be an exciting evening but our focus is on doing things properly against a team who have been in very good form,” he said. “People have asked what sort of team and formation they’re going to put out but we don’t need to get embroiled in that.
“We just need to make sure we do our jobs and concentrate on what we can do. We are fully aware that we’re coming up against a very good side and we have to prepare properly for that. Part of that is making sure we prepare for the game and not the occasion.
“I think when we played them up at our place earlier in the season people were saying then that they were in a false position at the bottom of the table. We all knew they were too good a side to be down there.
“There were suggestions that the manager was under a bit of pressure but Paul [Tisdale] showed he was prepared to stick to his philosophy and beliefs and get the rewards. Hopefully everyone will now feel able to say a very well done to him because he’s done a fantastic job with a fantastic team.”
With the kick off put back by over two hours to accommodate the televised Hartlepool v Doncaster fixture we wondered if that had an impact on how the team would prepare during the day on Saturday.
“Everything does get put back a little bit but we’ll get the players up and out of bed because you can sometimes start to feel lethargic when you’re staying in a hotel,” he explained. “We’ll make sure their legs are stretched and that we’ve done a slightly different form of match day training, but we’ll also make sure it doesn’t take too much out of their legs.
“They’ll be mentally and physically ready and I know that whichever team we send out will compete and do everything they can to bring us a successful conclusion.”
With almost a full complement of players to choose the first task for the manager will be to pick the team to do the job on the day.
“The only player unavailable is Mike Jones,” he said. “The good news for him is that he’s out of his protective boot and he’s able to walk freely. His rehab has started now to get him firing and up and running again for next season.
“As far as the rest of them are concerned, the place is bouncing. There’s an air of confidence, arrogance and enjoyment around the squad and they all want to be involved in the starting 11, the 18 or even the 20 that make the journey.
“That shows the level of competition within the squad. We have 96 or 97 minutes to go and win a game of football so the simple fact is we need to come off that pitch having scored more goals than Exeter.
“We’re coming back into the run of form we enjoyed before Christmas and it’s an end of season game with a lot riding on it. The good thing from a league point of view is that seven or eight of the games this weekend are between teams who have something to play for. That’s phenomenal and it should make for good viewing.”
Ticket sales for the game closed at 574 and, with purchases available on the day, it’s set to be another big Cumbrian following to roar the lads on.
“I think it’s fantastic,” he commented. “Back at the start of the season we were given a little bit of dispensation by the Football League when they gave us an away game to start things off because of the concerts we’d had.
“That ended up being the short trip to Portsmouth. There aren’t too many occasions when you start and end the season on a camel ride, but I have to say that we’ve been supported by a fantastic body of away support every step of the way.
“We don’t get outshouted anywhere and it does mean a lot to me, the staff and the players to have that. All I would say to them now is – enjoy it. As a travelling football club we make a lot of friends because of how well our supporters conduct themselves. We’ve done that at Premier League clubs and with non-league clubs, and all we can ask from the players is that they put on a performance their fans can be proud of.”