United are back at Brunton Park tomorrow afternoon for the visit of former United boss Keith Curle and his Oldham team, and it’s already being billed as an important fixture for both sides who, for their own reasons, are looking to take all three points on the day.
“The game is about what we do, but we’ve obviously watched how they play,” he said. “They had a disappointing result on Tuesday night, but a good result on Saturday, so it is a mixed bag for them at the moment.
“They’ve got some good footballers in there, but they’re having issues like us in terms of where they are in the league. We’re respectful to them and know their threats, but it’s about us and taking that momentum from Tuesday night forward.
“People are talking about their embargo and the fact that they can’t sign players, but they’ve already got a strong squad. They’ve had some good performances this season so they’re obviously capable of it.
“We’ve got some good players as well, they’ve shown signs at different stages throughout the season, but we need that consistency from them now to help us climb up the table.”
On preparing for his first third fixture as caretaker, he told us: “We’ll just review their past performances, as we always do. We’re trying to find consistency in how we play in a framework, but with some flexibility for the players to express themselves within it.
“It’s no good concentrating on other teams and what they might do and ending up taking the eye off the ball yourselves. We’ll set up in the shape we want and stay consistent with what we want to do.
“Obviously we remain aware of what they can bring to the game. We’ve just had a meeting and spoken about it, it’s nullifying their threats, and I think the best way to do that is based on how we play and how we cause them problems.
“We respect their good players, they showed it at times last year, we got beat 3-1 off them at home, some of those players will be playing again, so we know how talented they can be.
“They’ve been hard to beat recently, despite what happened on Tuesday, they’ve had some excellent performances, but there are also areas we think we can exploit with our excellent players as well.”
The Brunton Roar played a big part in helping the lads to settle into the last home game, and there’ll be more of the same from the home supporters on Saturday who are desperate to see their players put on another good show.
“There’s more expectation when you’re at home, and rightly so,” he commented. “We’re not where we want to be, we’ve got a big fanbase, so there’s more expectation.
“In life, if you want to achieve anything, there is expectation, and the joy when you’re under that expectation and it works out how you wanted it to is even more so.
“It’s something you have to embrace and enjoy. If you’re not playing well you’re going to get stick, if you are doing well and performing, well, people go with that.
“We can’t hide away from the fact this game is important. Is it pressure? We are where we are in the league, you can hide behind it, but it’s a really important game. We have to stay relaxed, focused, play our best and understand the importance of it.”
And with Hallam Hope and Nicky Adams returning to their old stomping ground, that could be an added factor to what is an already intriguing encounter.
“There’s hints that Nicky might not make it, but we’ll see from the teamsheet on Saturday,” he said. “It could be a bit of a smokescreen.
“And we know what Hallam can bring. You have to be aware but not become obsessed by it. I worked with him, liked working with him, we’ll be aware of his threats, but he’s just one of many good players in their squad.”