United manager Keith Curle was quick to praise the ground staff ahead of tomorrow’s game against Morecambe as they turned a pitch that had been submerged under six inches of water into a top-quality playing surface less than 24 hours after the heavy rains had passed through Cumbria.
“I don’t think everybody fully understands the work that goes in to giving us the pitch that’s delivered on a Saturday,” he said. “There’s a lot of work done by David [Mitchell] and his team to get it prepared.
“That’s the same for the training pitches as well, because it’s a work schedule that David is very proud of, and his work ethic is exemplary. The staff who work for him have bought into that because they’re very proud of what they do as well.
“I have good lines of communication with David, and I think that’s down to the respect I have for the work he does. I’d seen the images on Twitter of the flooded pitch and he got in touch with me to let me know there was no problem. The good thing is that if David tells you it’s going to be fine, it’s going to be fine.”
Saturday brings United back to that pristine home turf following back-to-back away games, and the manager admitted that he’s looking forward to performing in front of the club’s own fans once again.
“They’ve been through a lot because of the difficult period when we couldn’t win at home, but they stuck with us,” he commented. “The pleasing thing is they got the reward from that with the Oldham game, and then again with the Yeovil game.
“We’re hoping the tide has turned and that we’ll add picking regular points up at home to what we’ve been doing in our away games. Having said that, Morecambe won’t make it easy for us because they’ve got a way of playing that suits them.
“They have attacking players who can cause problems if you give them time and space, and I think they’ve slightly changed their style of play in that they don’t have as many players behind the ball as they used to have.
“Their attacking threats are good when they build up momentum, and it’ll be interesting to see Patrick Brough go up against us, because he’s part of that. He’s just got back into the team and a lot of supporters will want to see how he is progressing.
“He left us needing game time because he has all of the attributes and skills to be a very good player. With the form of Danny Grainger, at the time he was with us, it meant he wasn’t getting onto the pitch and that was hampering his progress.
“One of the things I told him when he left was to make sure he proved me wrong. Football is all about opinions, but he moved on and he’s integrated well at Morecambe. I like Patrick as an individual and as a person and he now needs to make his own profile within the game. I hope that’s what he does.”
Speaking more about the threats posed by Morecambe, he told us: “There are individuals within the team who can turn things on. Kevin Ellison has always been clever in how he plays. He can turn people and he has an eye for goal, and he likes to win games. He’s part of a very useful forward line who, on their day, will put teams away.
“Vadaine Oliver is a player I tried to get before he went to Mansfield, and he’s another who can win flick-ons and work off the defenders to get goals. Numbers wise they don’t have a large squad, but you do get regular performers who turn in good performances every week.”
“I’ve got a lot of time for Jim Bentley because he has a good understanding of the game and he has very good backroom staff,” he added. “He’s accepted the challenge he faces of being Morecambe manager and you won’t ever hear him moaning or complaining.
“He gets on with the job and he fosters a relationship with his players whereby they don’t fall out if they lose three, four or five games. They stick together and that’s why they get results. They certainly won’t come here and roll over for us. They’ll make sure the game is a test for us. Jim has them well-drilled and they’re good at set pieces.
“They’re in a worrying position at the moment and, with them being professionals, they won’t like were they are in the league. Every team aspires to finish as high as they possibly can. It’s a game both clubs look forward to and Morecambe will come here with optimism thinking they can upset our party.”
Click HERE to watch an interview with Keith Curle on iFollow United now.