Boss Keith Curle urges Carlisle United to impose themselves against Mansfield Town

Keith Curle walks on to the Field Mill turf as new manager of Carlisle United -Pic by: Richard Parkes
Keith Curle walks on to the Field Mill turf as new manager of Carlisle United -Pic by: Richard Parkes

Carlisle United boss Keith Curle has called on his side to impose themselves against Mansfield Town.

A win would see struggling United, who have picked up just nine points in their last 10 games, leapfrog Stags and escape the League Two drop zone.

“I think this is a game both teams will be looking forward to,” said Curle.

“It’s one where there’s nothing to be scared of. It’s an opportunity for us to go out and impose ourselves on a team which has been heading in the wrong direction in the league.

“That’s something they know themselves. We’re going in the right direction, so hopefully things will continue on that path.”

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“The only pressure I put on the players is to perform. I will look after the results so they have to make sure they are prepared mentally, physically, technically and tactically.

“I know they’re comfortable with that because we have a good group here. They haven’t been getting the rewards they deserve in my opinion, but that will come because the work ethic is good.”

And Curle, who guided Stags to the play-off final in the 2003/04 season, also believes there are plenty more twists and turns ahead with just six points separating nine teams.

“With the amount of games left you could probably take the bottom ten or twelve teams in the division and, within two wins, everyone is covered under that umbrella,” added Curle.

“If anyone thinks they’re sat in tenth or eleventh and they’re comfortable – they’re not.

“Likewise for us, if we win the next two games, does that mean our fight for survival in this division is over? No chance. There’s a lot of hard work still to do.”

“Mansfield competed well against Wycombe last week but it can take a bit of time for new players to settle and gel.

“It’s exactly the same here; you can’t turn a squad into a team overnight. They’ve had good recruitment, and they’ve brought in players we also looked at – Oliver and Ravenhill – so they will come up here to give us a game, make no mistake about that.

Mansfield took an early 3-0 lead against Carlisle in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, a scenario that Curle is keen to avoid.

He ssaid: ““We were three down in 20 minutes when we last played them so that shows they can hurt you. We finished that game on top by playing on the front foot, and that suited us.

“It’s a massive game for dealing with what they’ve got to offer, and then having a look at whether or not they can deal with us.

“I don’t think they’ll be here to play an open and expansive game. They’ll try to stay solid and they’ll focus on their strengths.

“They’ll get it forward early and get after it, and they’ll look for second balls to try and find openings.

“As we’ve found before, we’ve got to deal with it because, if we don’t, they’ll cause us problems.”