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MANAGER: We have to make sure we play the game and not the occasion

Keith Curle ahead of the visit of Luton Town on Saturday

20 April 2018

Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about what will be a difficult test against promotion chasing Luton Town at Brunton Park on Saturday afternoon.

“It’ll be a tough game because we’re coming up against a team that has been consistently at the top end of the table,” he said. “They’ve invested well and they’re reaping the rewards.

“They can score goals and win games and they have dangerous players all the way through their team. Everyone knows they find goals from anywhere for fun, but we can be organised and disciplined, and we can keep clean sheets.

“With a foothold in the game we then need to add a cutting edge in the final third to make sure we turn chances and opportunities into goals.”

“They’re within touching distance of being promoted and that would have been their target at the beginning of the season,” he continued. “We’ve always had very competitive games and I don’t see that changing.

“Both teams will test each other and we certainly won’t fear the challenge. We want to win every game we play and this is another chance for our players to pull on the shirt and represent us.

“They enjoy being able to do that and I know they want to give the level of performances that their fans can be proud of.”

“There’s no difference in the pressure we face on Saturday because we always demand a lot from the players anyway,” he commented. “It’s an opportunity to win three points, so that’s exactly what we’ll be trying to do.

“We have to make sure we play the game and not the occasion. They’ll have vocal backing because the expectancy will be on them to come here and win promotion. There’ll be a party atmosphere from their supporters, but I know our fans will be up for the challenge of matching that.

“Like I say, it’s a game where we know we need a win but it’s also one we have to do properly. It isn’t a sudden death shoot-out, it’s a game that will take 95 minutes. The first team to score doesn’t win there and then, so we have a game plan and we have a focus on what we want the players to do.”

On the mood within the camp, he said: “The meeting we had with the players realigned their focus and reminded them that ultimately they’re all self-employed.

“That means that playing games for this club is their opportunity to showcase their abilities and their professionalism.

“From the day I got here we’ve all tried to represent the football club in the best way possible. That’s testament to the players, the coaching staff and the football department as a whole, because everything we do is always with one eye on making things better.”

And on the injured players, he said: “Tom Miller is back in full training and Kelvin Etuhu is field-based now, as is Nicky Adams. Those two are nowhere near joining in with the group but it’s nice to see them back out on the grass.”

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