'Respect is a massive word' - Oldham Athletic boss reveals findings of his Leeds United homework ahead of EFL Trophy clash with young Whites XI
Oldham Athletic boss Keith Curle says he and his staff are giving tonight's EFL Trophy game against a Leeds United Under 21 side the same respect as any League Two game.
The Latics, bottom of League Two after nine games, may give minutes to some of their own youngsters tonight as they try to build on a 1-0 win over Salford City in their opening group game.
A young Leeds team, including a number of Under 18s and 15-year-old Archie Gray, lost 4-1 to Tranmere and sit bottom of Group B heading into the Boundary Park clash.
No matter the average age of the side Mark Jackson fields this evening, Curle has done his homework and expects a team made in the image of Marcelo Bielsa's Premier League outfit.
"Our attitude and our respect to our opponents doesn't change, we follow the exact same format that myself, Colin [West], Alan [Sheehan] and the analyst Jamie [Powell] have in place and we've conducted our research on Leeds' U21's," he said.
"Respect in football is a massive word and we've shown the exact same respect as we would to any team in our league or playing a cup game against a team in a higher or lower division and our method and format will never change.
"They're trying to create a culture at the football club whereby throughout the levels at Leeds, they try and mirror what the first team are doing, so the training patterns will be the same as well as their attitude towards the game.
"They've got good dynamics and they like to press, and they possess high-energy, a team that can compete for 90 minutes which is very similar to what their first team is about. They have a focus on fitness, and they've got players that can express themselves within that system."
Qualification for the knockout stage will come with victory over Leeds tonight in regulation time for Curle's men and despite the obvious priority being Football League status, he's eager for a cup run.
"We've shown that these cup competitions are important because we've had pleasing results apart from Brentford [a 7-0 EFL Cup defeat]," he said.
"I've been lucky enough to play at Wembley three times, so I know where the end result is and where the finish line is, and it does pick up momentum the further that you go.
"The early stages are an opportunity to earn finances for the football club as well which is important."