With the January transfer window now open manager Keith Curle confirmed that talks are already under way with players and representatives as he looks to add to his squad for the second half of the campaign.
“I’ve had a conversation with the club and I have a better understanding of the finances available over the short, medium and long term,” he said. “I’m working within the realms of that budget to try to improve this football club.
“I know I have the spending power if the right players are available. What I need to bring in to this club, in my opinion, is going to cost us money. Sometimes it’s trying to get value for that money rather than just filling the changing room with bodies.”
“I operate with a small squad but I make sure it’s always competitive,” he continued. “We have a changing room right now full of players who could play some part in our games, and that’s pleasing.
“Sam Cosgrove is a great example of that. He hasn’t been getting the game time he requires but he’s settled, worked hard, bided his time, and then he took his opportunity very well. That’s what we need because every player will play a part at some point.”
On how far down the road he’s got in terms of making additions, he commented: “It isn’t the case that the January window opens and then I go to work. It’s been an ongoing process of monitoring players and doing background checks, but it can be like a domino effect at this time of year.
“Sometimes you have to wait for other football clubs to do their business, because that then frees up potential moves for other players who aren’t going to get the game time they want.
“One of the problems we face is that when you’re looking for players of a certain pedigree, other clubs get to know it as well. We’re in direct competition for one player with Swindon and Coventry, and financially we can be competitive, but we can’t match what they’re offering.
“What we can do is incentivise in other areas, so if people do come up here and do well, they can earn money. You can also use the longevity of the contract to compete against clubs who can otherwise blow you out of the water with what you can pay.
“Sometimes you have to accept that you need wait for quality. You do run the risk of missing out when you take that approach, so that’s why it’s an ongoing process. That’s why we have a tiered system of preferred choices so that we always have a back-up plan.
“There’s nothing close at the moment, but I have been given permission by two clubs to speak to players and their representatives. Then it’s a case of selling the dream and the vision of where I think this football club is going.”
“The length of the contracts we offer is something that will get decided by the football club and, likewise, whether I’m here or not after the end of the season is also decided by them,” he said. “Players are self-employed and they have to be selfish and they have to look after themselves, whoever the manager is and whoever the owner of the club is. If they come or stay here it has to be because they’re happy.”
And on his own ongoing contract situation, he told us: “I’m an employee of this club and I’m happy with that. The first contract I signed took eight months to agree. That’s because I need everything to be black and white. It was the case back then that there were some grey areas which needed to be clarified for both parties.
“I signed when I was happy to sign it, and what I have to consider is that this is my career. I’ve come to Carlisle to be successful and to help to get this club on an upward spiral. I think we’ve taken big strides towards that.
“I’ve tried to add value to the club in everything I do and I think we’ve shown good improvements, but we need to show more through the second half of the season to continue the climb.
“I’m into my final six months but I’m not going to beg the club to allow me to stay here. I’m enjoying my role and I’m enjoying my job, but I’m in the same position as the players in that I’m working my notice period.
“If jobs become available I can inform the football club that I’m going to go for an interview. During my notice period I’m able to seek employment that suits my career and the football club are aware of that.
“If a job comes that’s right for me and the football club I will work my notice period and move on. If the club don’t want me to stay, they’re entitled to let me see my contract out and relieve me of my duties once it finishes. That’s just the industry we’re in.
“The players have all been informed that the contract negotiations for extensions and decisions on their future will be made towards the end of the season. I don’t think there are any triggers which will mean anything gets done before then.
“Nicky Adams did have a trigger, but he missed it by a couple of games. I think it’s important that we’re consistent, rather than offer one player a contract but not another, which could cause people to read between the lines. When we’re in a position to talk to all of the players then that will be done.”