County boss Keith Curle spoke to BBC Radio Nottingham and his club's official website ahead of his side's big League One game against Carlisle at Meadow Lane tomorrow, Curle first talking about the late sending off of Lee Hughes as the Magpies defeated Rochdale 1-0 at Spotland on Tuesday evening :
“We didn’t want to challenge the Lee Hughes red card because it was a challenge inside the box so if we lose the appeal then we lose Lee for another game. It is a difficult time for managers, players and referees because there is a grey area, I don’t think he deliberately went to hurt anybody, he has got a chance to score a goal, and it was a genuine attempt for the ball. I think though I am mindful of the fact that I have still got goals in the changing room, there are people in there that can score goals.
“Alan Judge has been hitting the crossbar a lot but my main thing there was asking the players to get on the rebounds more than they are doing as there are goals to be had. Hamza Bencherif too is a big handful to stop when he is arriving at pace in the box, if we get good delivery into the box then he has got a habit of getting on the end of things, so it is a side of his game that we are trying to recreate.
“The players have given themselves an opportunity now where the season is not going to peter out, hopefully we can stay up there until four or five games to the end of the season and it will be exciting times. I think there are about four or five teams now that are in that chasing pack, and I think it is always good when you are chasing rather than being up there. It is a big, big ask, but you never know, there is something building in our changing room.
“Nothing is going to change, the players are still going to go out there and we are going to give them a little bit of a platform to play from, but they have to go out with a smile on their face and express themselves. We know they have put themselves in a great position so can they maintain it? I think they can. I think confidence in players comes from results, comes from doing your job and understanding what your role is in the team framework and enjoying it.
“If you enjoy doing what you know you are good at and being asked to do what you are good at then it creates the right environment. There is a great environment in the changing room, there is a confidence and a vibrancy about them at the minute and I am fully aware that comes from results. The best thing is that I have not had a chance to sit down and think about things much, I just have to give correct and concise information to the players."
“I think there are going to be a few personnel changes, because I think some of the players I have only had 45 minutes to have a look at, and I think there are more than 45 minutes in them but in certain circumstances they haven’t been able to express themselves to their full extent. But, I know that there are players in there, people like Jonathan Forte, I know that potentially Jonathan will be a goalscorer in this division.
“I knew about four of five of the players personally before I came in and I have watched lots of DVDs of games but some people have done better than they had done previously. I haven’t had to do anything too technical on the training ground, just a little bit of guidance and a little bit of steering, an arm round some players to get them believing in themselves so they fully understand how I see them progressing. I don’t hide from players but I don’t want to sit in the changing room with them either, they know I am the manager, I know they are the players, I manage, they play, quite simple.
“All the players in the changing room know that they are part of the squad, and being part of that squad means they need to be available at the drop of a hat because they might be playing. But, I don’t think I am going to tinker just for the sake of tinkering, I am mindful of the fact that week in and week out we need to get results and the team needs a platform to play from. We will try to give them that, but again, I like having the inconsistency of team selections so that nobody knows what the team is going to be.
“Predominantly I don’t at the minute but I have got a mindset, I will try to dissect Carlisle’s strengths and weaknesses, then I will have a look at our strengths and weaknesses and what we think their team selection will be likely to be and I will try to play a game of chess with our strengths against their weaknesses. But, we know if we perform well we will give anyone in this league a tough game. It's a massive game and Meadow Lane can be an intimidating place when the crowd gets behind the players.
“I am looking purely game by game, nothing else. We don’t usually talk a lot to the players about the opposition, it is mainly about what we can do and how we can impose ourselves on the opposition. But, obviously you give them respect and the players certain guidelines that need to be in place, but the main focus is what we do. Lee Miller has scored a lot of goals for them though and is obviously one of their threats.”