Keith Curle: Questions over Carlisle Utd squad size only valid with benefit of hindsight

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Keith Curle
Keith Curle

Manager Keith Curle says any criticism over his decision to start the season with a small squad is only valid with the benefit of "hindsight".

The Carlisle United boss has been forced to dip into the free agent market this week after a spate of injuries.

It has depleted a squad which was deliberately smaller from the outset of the campaign, Curle insisting he had committed his budget to "quality rather than quantity".

United's manager says that decision helped get the Blues into a strong position in League Two, which they will bid to consolidate at Mansfield today.

Curle said: "Hindsight is absolutely paramount in this situation.

"I suppose if I knew I was going to sell Charlie Wyke for in excess of £250,000 in the January transfer window, your policy could change.

"But that was something that happened at the latter stages, changed the spending power we had.

"I do still believe the policy of creating a squad that had better quality rather than quantity in my opinion served us well in the first 25-26 games of the season and put us in good stead.

"And if anyone could tell me how I could have foreseen these injuries, I'd sign them on as a member of staff."

While there is a possibility of at least one injured player returning today, Curle is encouraged by loan frontman Jamie Proctor's ability to keep playing despite a stomach injury.

United's boss said: "After the treatment he received at Bolton, he went from only being able to giving us 10-12 minutes [against Cambridge] to being our player that covered the most distance [against Luton].

"I am thinking of sending all the players to Bolton!

"He's had some treatment down there, and sometimes it's physical, sometimes mental. If a player feels something, he can automatically become a bit protective, when it concerns a lack of mobility, movement, and caution.

"Clear that, dispel that, give them information that gives them clarity and you get a player back - that's the player I signed. That was the case with Jamie going down there. Certain issues being eradicated from his mindset and giving him a clean bill of health."

Curle, meanwhile, says he is continuing talks with the five players who have been offered new contracts, with deals still to be finalised.

Luke Joyce, Jason Kennedy, Danny Grainger, Michael Raynes and Mark Gillespie have been offered terms.

Curle said: "We're just getting to the final stages now whereby the negotiations have come back to me, to go back to the players.

"It is pure finances and figures that have to protect the club and also still be incentivised with the players. I'll be picking that up on Monday."

"If players want to keep their options open, they're entitled to. I don't see that as a negative. As a player you've got to keep your options open if you think you have a possibility of playing at a higher level and earning more money.

"As long as they keep on giving me the commitment they have. And with any of those players, I don't see it having an effect on performance."

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