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MANAGER: Home form is massive if you're going to achieve anything

John Sheridan on style of play and who he expects this season's main competition to be

1 August 2018

Speaking recently at a Fans’ Forum manager John Sheridan repeated his message that he wants his side to play attacking football, particularly here at Brunton Park.

“I'd like to think we'll be attacking,” he said. “Home form is massive if you're going to achieve anything in this league.

“At the same time we have to be organised. My instincts tell me we have a team to play at home at the moment and possibly a different team to play away. That's just from what I've seen.

“The pitch is a beautiful pitch and that'll play a big part for us. It gives you width, so we need to create chances on it. First and foremost I want to win. I want the players to be hungry and, if we're going to get beat, let’s go down fighting.

“We do analyse the opposition as well to give us the best chance in a game. I think you have to look at the other team because it’s about getting as much information as you can to help you to go on and get the points.

“As I’ve said before, I'm also a massive believer in focusing on what we can do. The belief has to be there in my players that they’re going to win every time they go out to play.”

“The reason I applied for this job is because of my track record,” he continued. “I know this level and I know what's needed to compete.

“Being honest, it was a job that came up. I could have waited after Fleetwood, but this job was there. It's work at the end of the day and I want to be involved in the game. I saw this was available so I met people in Leeds for the interview and everyone liked what was said.

“I'm looking forward to getting fans to come back because we'll be doing things to win games. We aren't too far away, and I want to improve things and achieve something.”

Speaking about who will be the biggest threats to that success, he said: “Accrington killed everybody last season. Every club will look at that and feel they've got a chance.

“I think this will be a tough season because of the quality of player in the division. There are 15 teams who really think they can do it, and we're one of them, believe me, we're not in it just to survive.

“Bury, MK Dons, Macclesfield and Northampton all have good squads … but, when you think about it, I wouldn't like to pick. I do think we'll be competing though, whoever else is up there.”

Another topic raised by a number of fans at the Monday night meeting was the use of youth players who have graduated through the club’s own academy system.

“I've always played young players, wherever I've been,” the manager said. “However, and I’ll repeat this over and over, they've got to be good enough.

“If they show me they can compete then they have a chance. I'm trying to reassure all of the young lads that they’ll be involved if I think they're good enough. I want the young lads to be positive about their chances.

“All we can do as staff is involve them during the week because you can't expect them to come in and set the world alight if they aren't involved with you day-to-day. Sometimes one of them surprises you.

“If they're involved, they're learning, because I always learned more from playing beside an older player. He would be rollicking me and telling me off and, back in those days, he would be telling you in such a way you knew you had to listen.”

“Look, and I know you’ll get sick of us saying this, but these lads have to be good enough,” Tommy Wright added. “Our record at other clubs has been that we've gone on to sell young lads for millions of pounds. It's up to them to compete and show us they can handle it, then they’ll get the rewards.”

And on why there hasn’t been a steady flow of graduates in recent years, Paul Murray said: “Simply put, these boys aren't coming through because the talent isn't here beyond a certain age.

“When we identify them and start to bring them on we lose them to bigger clubs. They get poached. The problem there is that a good 14-year old kid will go to a bigger club because of the financial rewards. It's a simple as that.

“Once the likes of the top Premier League clubs get in the ears of the parents it becomes almost impossible to persuade them that Carlisle United is a better option. The rewards are too great to be ignored.

“With the lads that are left, perhaps the desire isn’t there to play for Carlisle United. The period of producing 14 pro's over two years that I was part of will never happen again. We will get one or two, but that was unusual for any club. It’ll never be like that again.”

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