by Sam Elliott
JABO IBEHRE tips Keith Curle to manage at the very top of the game – but not until he has taken Carlisle United into the play-
The Cumbrians continue to impress this season and, although Tuesday’s unlucky defeat with ten men by AFC Wimbledon left the side in 12th place in League Two, they are only four points from the top five.
With games in hand because of the flooding disaster which hit the county last year, the Carlisle players still fancy their chances.
Curle took over with the club bottom of the table in September 2014, and the former England defender’s impact has seen him recently rewarded with a new long-term contract.
Ibehre, top scorer this season with 13, says his manager is a big reason why his form – as well as the club’s – is the best it has been for a long while.
The 33-year-old said: “I think we’ve got to stay positive about the play-offs. We have games in hands on every team currently in there, with the exception of Accrington. We’re ready for another run. I think it’s going to come.
“We have some good players coming back from injury now, which really helps. We’re on it, we want to do it and the beauty of League Two is that it’s the top seven. We havea very good chance. We’re settled and we’re back at the training ground. The awful events were always going to have an impact, but it’s time to get busy now.”
Curle is the key, says the former Orient striker. He has transformed the club from relegation fodder to genuine promotion contenders and his new deal will keep him at Brunton Park to the summer of 2018.
But Carlisle may struggle to keep him in the north-west should they continue their rapid progression.
Ibehre said: “The manager is fantastic. It’s a privilege to have him at the helm.
“He pushes everyone. You think you are doing well and he tells you ‘No, I can get even more out of you’. He is turning some of us here into very good and very consistent players, and that is a sign of someone who knows how to do his job.
“He is the right man to manage Carlisle, that’s for sure, and it’s such great news that he has signed that contract. He has had a fantastic career and he has a lot of know-how. He was a top player and I think he has everything you need to go on and be a top manager. I would love to see him up there, but let’s get into the play-offs first!”