The Sunset Suite at Brunton Park was packed on Monday evening as 91 fans attended a Forum with John Sheridan, Tommy Wright, Paul Murray and Dan Watson taking centre stage as the star guests on the panel.
A thank you goes to CUSG chairman Simon Clarkson and event host Adrian Bell for their assistance on the night, with abm Catering also on hand to help with the bar and the smooth running of the evening as a whole.
Thank you also to Rhythm Audio for their provision of a sound system and microphones.
Prior to starting the Forum, we had a quick word with the boss about tonight’s visit to Borough Park for this season’s final pre-season away friendly.
“It’s a game we’re looking forward to,” he said. “I’ve heard good things about our relationship with Workington and I’m looking forward to meeting everyone down there. It’s a testimonial for one of their players, so that makes it a good local occasion as well.
“We’re still looking at which system we’re going to play, and which players will fit into it. It will be about the players knowing their job description and how they need to play for the team – it’s all about the team, it isn’t an individual game.”
“I’ve made it clear to the players that the next two weeks will be about shape and how we’re going to play,” he continued. “I’m still letting them take responsibility on the pitch at the moment. I’m being quite quiet when I’m watching the games because I want them to be the ones who are vocal.
“We’ll be working on shape leading up to the Exeter game and how we play against different formations. The most important thing for me is keeping everyone fit, and then getting them as physically fit as we can. It will then be me trying to pick the right team for the first game.”
Part of that selection headache will be two keepers who are both training and playing well as we go through the summer programme.
“They’re two good keepers but that doesn’t give me a headache at all,” he insisted. “I know I can only pick one, but I’m happy with both of them. Whichever one I pick, I know they’ll do a good job for us.
“We want that competition in every position. I also want one or two of the younger players to believe in themselves. They’ve got a manager who is trying to give them the confidence that if they perform they’ve got a good chance of playing or being involved.”
And on trialist Lewis Walters, who has been with the first team squad for the last three weeks, he commented: “He’s been with us for a while and he’s a good lad. We'll be making a decision on him after tonight.
“A couple of the young lads will play more minutes as well and we’ll see where we go from there. Most of the lads will be playing and getting more match time, but we want to go to Workington and win the game. I’m hoping it’s going to be another good test for us.”
“The trialist we had with us from Greece at Penrith isn’t with us any more,” he confirmed. “He did ok in the game, to be fair to him. It was very late when his agent asked if he could come, so we actually ended up meeting him when we arrived at Penrith, which wasn’t ideal.
“He didn’t really speak any English and you have to go round in circles to get these lads to come. I think he sees himself playing at higher levels, so I don’t think he'd have accepted what we would have offered him anyway.
“I spoke to him and his agent after the game and, being totally honest, I think it was a no-go. He was after bigger and better things, so I made a quick decision.”
We’ll have more from the Forum as we go through this week.