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INTERVIEW: The work doesn't stop

1 July 2015

Head of recruitment Lee Dykes on a summer of business

Head of recruitment Lee Dykes spoke to us about what has been a busy period with trial players and new signings arriving on an almost daily basis over the course of the last week.

“A lot has happened at Carlisle United over the last week or so, as everyone has seen, and it’s the culmination of a lot of hard work,” he said. “Everything was topped off last week with the signing of Jabo Ibehre and Bastien Hery, and we’ve added to that this week with two more players we feel are good additions to the squad.

“Looking at Jabo in particular, I can say that in my line of work we tend to highlight the good players from the opposition when we go to watch them.

“He was always a strength, because of his presence, and it’s good for us to gave someone like that in our squad. Not many defenders will want to play against him so we’re looking forward to seeing what he will bring for us.”

“The signing of Jabo was a unique one in view of the fact it’s been a long time in the discussion phase,” he explained. “I didn’t know him as a person when we first spoke but I did know him as a player. 

“I was at Oldham at the start of the season and we really liked him there. I’d actually looked at him a long time before that, when I was with Notts County, so I’ve probably seen a lot of him for four or five years now.

“Once I started speaking to him I knew in an instant he was the right type of player for Carlisle. People often talk about the fact Carlisle United is a geographical difficulty, and it can be seen as a weakness compared to other League Two clubs. 

“Jabo has instantly bought into what we want to do at the football club and it was clear none of that was ever an issue for him. It hasn’t seemed to take a long time to get done to me because the discussions we’ve been having have always been positive. I wanted to get him in a room with the manager, and we did that, and as soon as they met I saw the spark.

“I quite like it when a player takes his time and thinks about exactly what it is he is committing himself to. He’s here for the right reasons and this is a good move from a club perspective and, I think, for the player.”

On how much of a relief it is to get a player signature over the line, he said: “These things just take time. With having so much on the go all the time you tend to lose track of how long individual deals take.

“With Bastien [Hery] for example, he actually caught my eye in the same game I watched Jason Kennedy. They were on opposite teams that day but they were the stand out performers for their respective sides.

“All the work we’re all doing at the moment is geared towards the season kick off against Mansfield. We want to do well in this league and give something back to the fans. You don’t do that without getting the right people in, and that means by doing the necessary work in the lead up to it.”

“We had a set of criteria when we started our recruitment process,” he explained. “We wanted professionals with experience and we have some younger players mixed in there as well.

“The work we’ve done has been good, but it doesn’t stop. The manager always wants to improve the squad and we’ve always got the next target highlighted. I can’t emphasise that enough. We know where we want to go so we keep one step ahead at all times.

“But, right now, we are very happy with where we are. If you’d given me the squad we have now just five weeks ago I’d have bitten your hands off.”

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