United manager Keith Curle spoke to us about the weekend trip to face Accrington Stanley at the Wham Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
“They’ve had a very good start and I went to watch them play Notts County,” he said. “You would probably say they were fortunate on the night to come away with a point from that one, but it was a determined performance.
“They were quite comfortable with the aerial onslaught and they had big, physical lads across the back four who dealt with that kind of thing. I think they’ve had a couple of injuries since then but they’ll still be very competitive.”
“Our good travelling support will add to the atmosphere and I have no doubt it will be feisty on the touchline,” he added. “John Coleman and his staff are passionate people and they always get the best out of their team, individually and collectively.
“It’s one of those places where the crowd is right on top of you and you have to be careful not to get distracted by what can sometimes be seen as a bit of a pantomime in the technical area. I wouldn’t describe it as hostile because as soon as the 95 minutes is up they are really nice people.
“I have to say I enjoy their banter, but you have to be sharp because they don’t miss a trick. I quite enjoy that type of environment because I respect the way they do their job.”
“It’s seen as a bit of a local derby by our fans, particularly since we lost Hartlepool, because it’s a reachable distance and it’s a good day out,” he commented. “It’s a really good football environment – the pies are good, the interaction between the two sets of fans is always noisy, and it’s one everyone goes there determined to enjoy themselves.”
On who we should look out for, he said: “Billy Kee is one of the obvious ones to watch and he’s a player who has bedded in to how they want to play.
“He can cause you all kinds of problems and they can build their play off him. They have the pace of the young lad beside him and that gives him more room to work in.
“As a team they can score goals in various ways and it’ll be a good test. On and off the field I think it will be a no-holds-barred contest and I’m sure both teams will try to impose their style of play onto the game.”
In terms of player availability, he said: “Kelvin Etuhu, Samir Nabi and Jason Kennedy all came through a competitive friendly fixture against Gateshead on Tuesday. They gave a good account of themselves and they showed no reaction in training at all on Thursday.
“That was very pleasing and it shows that the work they’ve been doing has paid off. John O’Sullivan is at the start of his rehab process so he’s back in the building and annoying everybody again.
“The stitches have healed well so we’re going to give him a four-day break before we get him back in and working on the bikes, and things like. He’ll keep going with that and I know he’ll be working his socks off to get back with us as soon as he possibly can.”
Having used three trial players in the Tuesday reserve game, he told us: “There are one or two who we will keep an eye on at the clubs they’re playing at.
“We’re also sifting through those players who have made themselves available or who have been made available by their clubs. There’s still room in that side of the market for movement but I am comfortable with the versatility within the squad we have at the moment.
“Clint [Hill] has been invited to go to a Championship club and train with them. He’ll find out if the deal suits him in terms of the role they have for him and how they see him fitting in. It won’t be financial with him, it will come down to the lifestyle and what he wants from his next step.
“I’ve had some very good conversations with him and we’ll pick that up again after the weekend so we can see where he’s at. His age isn’t a factor for anybody he’s talking to because he’s a quality player. We have a lot of respect for each other and I’m sure that once he’s made his decision I’ll be second to know.”
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