Manager Keith Curle spoke to us at his Friday afternoon press conference ahead of the visit of Sheffield Wednesday in the third round of this season’s Emirates FA Cup competition.
“Preparations have been good,” he said. “We’ve looked at the information we’ve gathered on Sheffield Wednesday and we also sent Luke Joyce to watch their game on Monday. He gave a presentation to the coaching staff on the strengths and weaknesses he noticed from that game.
“We also have a detailed report from a scout who was there for us, so we have plenty to work on ahead of Saturday. We’ve given the details we feel are important to the players and we’ve put together a plan for how we want to approach the game.
“We used today [Friday] to go through the formation we want to use and the areas where we feel we can exploit the opposition. It’s been no different to what we do if we were preparing for a league game, so the players are in a good frame of mind.”
With news emerging that the Owls are set to appoint a new manager, he said: “His first port of call will be to identify the personnel he’s going to be working with. It could be that he’ll take his view from the stand, which is often the case.
“That will give him a more balanced view of the dynamics of his team, likewise, he could decide that he’s had enough time with the group to allow him to do his job from the technical area, if he is announced as being in charge.
“Whatever that situation may be, it’s a game we approach with respect. They’re a Championship club and they’ve been right up there in the top six or seven over the last two seasons. They’ll have pressures on them from having raised standards and expectations, and that’s what probably cost the previous manager his job.
“They’re a fantastic football club, with great support, but it can become a difficult place to play when that level of demand is on you. Sometimes when things aren’t going your way it’s easier to get performances in competitions like the FA Cup.
“A new manager means a fresh start and a clean slate, and he’ll expect them to perform and show him that they’re worthy of a shirt. Being Sheffield based I’m aware of the goal power and strengths they have as a team and I know Lee Bullen well.
“He’ll be showing great attention to detail and I’m familiar with how hard he works. His work ethic is very commendable, and he will have prepared his players fully for he knows will be a tough game.”
On what type of encounter we can expect, he said: “The welcome we give them will be professional and courteous, but we’ll be trying to beat them.
“Every time we’ve represented ourselves against teams from higher divisions we’ve come away having made friends. Our supporters have been embraced when we’ve played teams from the top division because of how respectful we’ve been as a club.
“It’s a game that presents a big opportunity for us as a club. It will put us in the spotlight if we can beat a Championship side and that’s always a good thing. Football fortune is available from cup competitions like this as well, and it does help everyone if we can get it.”
“The important thing for the players is not to get carried away with the emotion of the game,” he explained. “It’s a game of football. We’ll keep things the same during the build-up because I don’t want the players to end up getting caught up in the occasion.
“They need to play the way they know they can, and if they carry out their roles and responsibilities they’ll give themselves a chance.
“Every player will know that they need to be at 100%, and we ask the same of the crowd. We want them to be behind us and, if things don’t go our way, stick with us, because you never know what can happen.”
“It’s a game we want to win because we want to go through to the next round,” he told us. “We know we’re in a difficult period where we haven’t been getting the results we want at home, and we won’t hide away from that. It’s a challenge for us to turn that round.
“Our supporters are fantastic and there’s nothing I’d like more than to be winning games here for them at Brunton Park. When things aren’t going well, that’s when we need unity, so I hope we can all pull together and work towards getting the results and the club that we want.
“Individually, collectively and as a football club there are rewards for winning the game. The financial rewards are there but, ultimately, it’s a game of football and it’s a one off. It’s a knockout competition and it can be strange and amazing where these games end up.
“We will do everything we can to give the home supporters something to shout about. To do that we need to be competitive in everything we do.”