United boss Keith Curle was quick to praise the fans for the way they got behind the team on Saturday when the Blues faced table-toppers Exeter City at Brunton Park.
"I thought the supporters were fantastic,” he said. “You could tell that everybody was willing us forward and within the disappointment of the result was an acknowledgement of the work rate from their players.
“The pleasing thing was to see the lads in the paddock clapping them off the pitch, and they were doing that because they know their players did everything they could possibly do apart from get a goal to give us a positive result.”
Speaking about the illness which hit the squad and delayed the match day preparations, he said: “We’ve had players who couldn’t train because of flu and illness, but they put in a good shift for us.
“It was touch and go with some of them, and we weren’t able to name the team until Saturday afternoon because of the illness situation. That shows their adaptability and ability to go out and put in a performance for us despite the build-up being disrupted.
“The game was an opportunity for Gary [Liddle] to come in and I thought he did exceptionally well. He had a good understanding with Clint Hill and he’s shown that he’s going to be a very, very good replacement for our suspended centre back. He deserved his man-of-the-match award.”
And on the first 15 minutes of pitch time for Jason Kennedy since the middle of September, he told us: “He has a level of frustration about him because at the moment he can make himself available for 15 minutes of game time. He can’t come on the training ground with us so that’s difficult for him, because he wants to train every day.
“He’s still getting irritation if he does any sort of training so we’ve made the decision to wrap him in cotton wool and bubble wrap and have him doing exercises to maintain a level of fitness and robustness. We’re looking to reintroduce him with ten or fifteen minutes in games, but I must say that his attitude has been fantastic throughout.”
And on the hunt for goals at to go with the chances created at Brunton Park, he said: “We have good strikers here who need a different type of service to what we’ve seen before. Crosses into the box at head height will by and large be dealt with, so we have to work hard at finding other ways of getting strikes at the target.
“We’re consciously looking for centre forwards and, if the right person became available, we’d certainly look at whether or not we could do something. Bear in mind we’ve got one suspended at the moment and it would have been an ideal opportunity, with the finishing pedigree he’s shown in the last few years, where he could have played his part and won us the game.
“We actually tried to get involved with Jayden Stockley in the summer, but we couldn’t get anywhere near him. That’s part and parcel of the game because we looked at other centre forwards – the likes of Hylton and others – who we were able to talk to but not sit round a table with. That’s just the nature of the business we’re in.”
Click HERE to watch an interview with Keith Curle on iFollow United now.