Curle keen to get one over his 'best man' and good friend Ian Holloway

Keith Curle and Ian Holloway have known each other for over 40 yearsKeith Curle and Ian Holloway have known each other for over 40 years
Keith Curle and Ian Holloway have known each other for over 40 years | Getty
Personal pride as well as three points will be on the line at Blundell Park tomorrow when Keith Curle goes toe-to-toe with long-time friend and now opposite number Ian Holloway.

The two have known each other since their teens when they were apprentices at Bristol Rovers and have remained close ever since, so much so that Holloway was Curle's best man at his wedding.

The Town boss also described Holloway as one of the men who most influenced his career, both as a player and a manager.

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"We had a big argument one day in training that has stuck with me throughout my career," said Curle in an interview with Cheshire Live a few years ago. "We had to do some sprints in a set time and I always did enough to come in just in the time.

"I never pushed myself anymore than I had to. Ian ripped into me and said that's why I was at Bristol Rovers. I've never forgotten that lesson after 20-odd years."

Tomorrow, though, Curle and Holloway will be on opposite sides desperately hoping to claim the bragging rights come 5pm, as well as three important points.

"I know Ian very well," said Curle. I grew up with him and did my apprenticeship with him.

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"He was my best man at my wedding so I've got a lot of time for him and that's not only as a football person but also as a human being because he's got good values.

"He's got great enthusiasm for the game and he's had an excellent upbringing and the values he has a person he takes into a football club and that's something you can commend him on."

Known for his sense of humour and tendency to crack a joke, Holloway is perhaps underrated as a manager, particularly having spent 18 months out of the game following an unsuccessful spell at Queens Park Rangers.

But Curle is unlikely to make that mistake tomorrow afternoon, all the more so given Holloway's impressive impact on the Mariners: only four sides in the division have a better record since he was appointed on New Year's Day.

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"I don't think he got the credit he deserved when he took Blackpool into the Premier League but he did a very good job," added Curle.

"But I've got to say, I prefer him as a manager on the side of the pitch than as a radio broadcaster. I had to send him a couple of texts when he was live on air because he was doing my head in, probably more so when he was talking about rugby and cricket!

"Stick to football and I could listen to him all day because he's passionate and enthusiastic and I think we're very similar in the values we have."

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