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RECRUITMENT: It was a good fit all round

15 September 2015

Head of recruitment Lee Dykes on the Newcastle loan pair

Head of recruitment Lee Dykes spoke to us about the arrival of Newcastle loan pair Alex Gilliead and Macaulay Gillesphey and about a recruitment policy which has brought a new brand of football to Brunton Park.

Speaking first about today’s loan news, he said: “We’ve monitored these lads for a couple of years as a football staff. We’ve watched them a couple of times before we did the deals. 

“Newcastle played Arsenal on Friday evening and even though we’d already decided to bring them in we wanted to consolidate our thinking.

“The manager has done his due diligence on them and he’s worked his socks off to get them in the building, using some of the close links he has inside Newcastle United.”

“We spoke to them to see if their attitudes were correct and the response was fantastic from both of them,” he added. “They are two lads who are at a stage where they need to further their development and I’m very pleased they’ll be doing that with us.

“There were clubs in for them from a higher level and the manager has worked against that to get them both here. He sold the philosophy to them and when you play an open and expansive game, as we do, then players look at that and think they want to get involved.

“We’re doing well and we’re playing well and that does get noticed. I look at the stats every week and we’re never outside the top five in terms of possession, minutes on the ball and penetration into the final third. Coaches like Peter Beardsley look at that and think this will be a good environment for their players to step into.”

“Peter and Newcastle have been excellent to deal with,” he confirmed. “We spoke to him 30 minutes after the game had finished on Friday and he was still happy enough to have a chat with us. He gave us an honest opinion on the lads and that again helped us to finalise our thoughts. 

“The links we’re developing with clubs at higher levels can only be good for Carlisle United. We have to remember that you can’t always sign the player you need on a permanent transfer. You do sometimes need people who are plying their trade at a higher level but who are only really involved with their U21 Development Squads. 

“Players like that have had a good coaching and development background and they can give you something different. The younger lads can bring a raw edge and a freshness which allows them to play a big part in what you’re trying to do.”

On the attributes the players will bring to the squad, he said: “Macaulay is a left-sided centre back who can fill in as a full back, and there’s no doubt he can do a job at wing back. He likes to defend first and he has a great left foot.

“He’s very versatile across the back four and can play in a back five or three, and he’s a very good player. He’s one that needed to get out of his parent club and play a few games to further his development. 

“We’re fairly sure he can come in and push for a starting place. Deals like this aren’t just done to make up the numbers. We want players who will give us options and real competition.” 

“Alex is going to bring something a little bit different to what we have in the building,” he continued. “His natural first instinct is to take a player on and get past him. 

“He was signed by Newcastle as a striker but he can play anywhere along the front line. He’s played the majority of the games over the last 18 months as a winger. He does enjoy going past people and he likes to shoot. 

“He scored a great goal on Friday night, when his team was down to ten men, so I think we’ll enjoy watching him. All in all I think we’ve got two good bodies in the building.”

And on the recruitment process which has seen a complete change of approach this season, he said: “I’m a person who likes to back my opinion on a player. We won’t get them all right, because that just doesn’t happen in football, but we like to think we know what we’re doing.

“It’s all about the work you do in the background by getting out to see them as much as possible and by talking to people to get as many references as you can. It’s a relief when you get them over the line. 

“There have been a few which have fallen through, for whatever reason, but this one felt right. You get a gut feeling and this one was like that. Newcastle wanted them to come, the lads wanted to come and we really wanted them here. It was a good fit all round.

“The god thing is that there are 23 outfield players at the club at a time when we don’t need to go out and panic. We’re enjoying ourselves but we’re trying to send a message out there that we want to do well and we’re going to bring new players in to help with that if and when we need to. 

“We’ve been talking to a Championship player and a League One player but we don’t rush anything. The intention when I came in last October was to have a long-term thinking approach. We kept the club up and we have now brought players in, who we were looking at back in October, who can improve that situation for us. 

“As we sit here now, we know the players we want to bring in next summer, but we aren’t going to move too early. It’s all stepping stones but we’re very much forward thinking with our recruitment process.

“The reputation we’re getting helps. It surprises you at the comments you get sometimes because all these other clubs have got their own jobs to do. They’re being very complimentary about the way Carlisle United are playing. 

“We know how well we’re playing but it’s exciting for us to know that bigger clubs are noticing. Word is spreading that we play football but we’re backing it up with results as well. That helps us when it comes to talking about the kind of deal we’ve done with Newcastle today.”

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