'Eyes down' as Keith Curle shares bingo revelation on Hartlepool United's new signings ahead of Sutton United clash
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Gone are the booze-fuelled nights out for players as a number of Curle’s squad signed in January have spent their spare time ahead of the meeting with Sutton United with their ‘eyes down’ playing bingo in their Durham-based hotel.
Curle brought 11 new players to the Suit Direct Stadium in January, five on transfer deadline day, with the club housing several of those in accommodation near the club’s Maiden Castle training base.
And when Curle went to check up on his new recruits this week the Hartlepool boss admits he was shocked at what he found.
“They’ve settled in really well. I popped over to see them, as you can imagine we’ve got a few of the new lads staying in a hotel and we’re introducing them to life in Durham where the hotel is,” said Curle.
“You hear stories of hotel antics, of late nights, of behaviour of young men. But it was very pleasing to walk in and see them playing bingo.
“Times have changed. I even took a video, I couldn’t believe it.
“I rang up the contact at Arsenal with regards to Taylor Foran and said there’s concerns about the behaviour of Taylor and he was panicking on the phone thinking ‘what’s he done?’
“I showed him the video of Taylor playing bingo and he said ‘thank god for that.’
A number of those new signings could be in line for their home debut with Curle hoping for a ‘full house’ as Pools look to build momentum from their 1-0 success over Doncaster Rovers.
“Every week I want to win. I don’t set up settling for a draw or not getting beat by too many,” said Curle.
“Every week I try to set the team up to get us a win and this will be no different. Our preparation won’t be different.”
Curle will be boosted by the return to full fitness of star striker Josh Umerah who was limited to 25 minutes from the bench at Doncaster after illness with Jack Hamilton also back in contention.
Unlucky for some, Umerah will be looking to add to his 13-goal tally this season with Pools boss Curle pleased by the attitude of the 25-year-old.
“He’s available for selection,” Curle told The Mail.
“But I like the fact that every time he’s not started a game he’s come on with a point to prove and played a right old part - whether that be the win at Doncaster or the draw against Mansfield.
“I liked the fact that even though he wasn’t feeling well, he was under the weather, he struggled to get out of bed and yet I got a phone call at nine o’clock saying Josh is on the bus. He wanted to be a part of it.
“Even if he said at half 11 or 12 o’clock that he couldn’t make the subs bench. I had a word with him after the pre-match meal and asked him if he could give me 20 minutes and he said ‘yeah, I’ll give you what I’ve got.’ And that’s all you want from any player.”