United boss John Sheridan sat down with members of the local press to host his first informal press conference following the United for Business Fixtures Breakfast on Thursday morning, and he confirmed that he was already feeling as if he’d been made to feel part of the club since his return from his family holiday earlier in the week.
“I’ve been made to feel very welcome by everybody I’ve met,” he said. “It’s fantastic to be given the opportunity to manage at a club like this and I’m really looking forward to it. Listen, this is a big club and I’m here because I think I can take it on to bigger and better things.
“We’ve come close over the years, most recently under Keith [Curle], so I’m hoping I’ll be able to take it a step further. I keep saying over and over that it’s easy for me to talk a good game, so the emphasis now is on producing the goods.”
With the fixtures released and the opening day away trip to Exeter confirmed, he added: “That opening game is a nice little journey for us, isn’t it! It’s not ideal, because I know our fans follow us in numbers and I’d have liked it to have been more local, but that’s the last moan I’ll have about it. The fixtures are what they are and we’ve got to get on with it.
“It’s the same with being away at Yeovil on the final day. That’s not brilliant for the fans, and they’re the ones I’m thinking about, but there’s nothing we can do about it. The game has to be played whenever it is, but it’s unfortunate that it’s fallen on that day with it being so far away.”
The additions of Paul Murray and Tommy Wright to the backroom staff, along with the signings of players this week, has added its own momentum through what is always a busy period for football clubs with pre-season just a few days away.
“You can compare it to putting a jigsaw together,” he commented. “You do it piece by piece and eventually you get to relax. I want to try to get my squad in place as much as I can and I’m hopeful that more players will be with us soon.
“Ideally that will be another nine or ten, but I’m mindful that there’s already a very good nucleus of players here. I keep telling people that I want the right players to add to the group, so the work on that will continue well into pre-season.”
“I’m very pleased with how things are going and I’m comfortable with where we’re at in terms of our recruitment,” he confirmed. “I’m here to put my stamp on it and, with the numbers as they are, it means I’ve got the chance to bring a lot of my own players in.
“I want it to be a strong squad with plenty of options, and with people competing with each other every step of the way. Position wise we know we need two keepers, and I’ve spoken to clubs about potential signings in that area already.
“I’d like a right-sided centre back, another midfield player, strikers and any other number of positions I’m sure everybody will be able to easily work out.”
“With the backroom staff, I want people I know I can trust,” he said. “I’ve got that with the addition of Tommy [Wright] and I’m confident we’ll have others in who will make us better.
“With all of it, players and staff, I know what I’ve got work with in terms of money and I know I can get good people in. I know the level, I’ve got the contacts and I never complain about the resources I have available to me.
“You’ll hardly hear me mention budgets because it isn’t about that as far as I’m concerned. It’s about getting the players to get you results. That’s why I’m realistic with my targets and why I’m confident I’ll get a lot of them over the line.
“There are definitely good players out there who would be interested in coming here. Yes, it’s difficult with the location, but that won’t ever be used as an excuse either. If a player is mentioning that as an issue to you, it’s probably time to look elsewhere anyway.
“If we look at players who are based closer to Cumbria then we’ll better placed to persuade them that, actually, where Carlisle is doesn’t even factor in. The more players who feel they belong to the area the more they will feel part of the community, and that’s important.”
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