Curle sympathises with counterpart Coughlan but tells Cobblers to play Mansfield at their own game

The predicament Graham Coughlan found himself in prior to taking over at Mansfield Town this week is one Keith Curle knows all too well.

Friday, 20th December 2019, 5:12 pm
Updated Friday, 20th December 2019, 5:19 pm
Keith Curle

Coughlan made the shock move to leave his post as manager of Bristol Rovers, fourth in League One, and head north to Mansfield, 18th in League Two, on Tuesday afternoon, replacing the sacked John Dempster.

The decision seemed an odd one of the face of it but the reasons behind his move would have resonated with Curle.

Both Curle and Coughlan are based in Sheffield and the demands of the job, combined with the lengthy commute, means time spent with family can be extremely limited.

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So when Mansfield offered him the opportunity to work closer to home, it was too tempting for Coughlan to turn down. As a result, he'll be in the dugout when Curle returns to one of his former clubs this weekend.

"It's difficult because I'm based in Sheffield and previously I worked five years in London at Crystal Palace and QPR when I wasn't commuting daily but weekly," said Curle, who managed the Stags between 2002 and 2004.

"I also had four years at Carlisle and again it's not somewhere you can go to on a daily basis and I spent four or five days a week up there so that's nine years where I didn't see much of my family and wasn't able to decorate my house.

"But this is my profession and my job and hopefully the rewards are there.

"Moving back to his family will be a great opportunity for Graham and hopefully he'll enjoy spending time with them and enjoy his profession."

Coughlan's appointment will no doubt inject a new lease of life into a previously struggling Mansfield side, who were among the promotion favourites at the start of the season.

But Curle, having listened to Coughlan's interviews with great interest this week, has urged his side to stick to their own game.

"It'll be a challenge for us because they'll be upbeat with a new manager coming in and he'll have had three or four days to set the foundations," Curle added.

"I listened to one of his interviews and he wants to play high-tempo football, move the ball quickly, get into the final third and get bodies into the box.

"That's something we don't shy away from ourselves and sometimes what you don't want is to get back exactly what you're trying to do - if you have a look at how we play, we get the ball forward, we get after the ball and we get numbers into the box. We'll ask them questions."