Carlisle United’s 2018/19 season fixture list was revealed by manager John Sheridan at this morning’s launch of United for Business – our new business networking venture – and there were some deep groans when mammoth away trips to Exeter and Yeovil were highlighted as our opening and closing games of the campaign.
“Of all of the fixtures those two are the hardest to take,” the new boss said. “It’s not great for our fans at all, because everyone knows this club travels in numbers. We’ll take a lot anyway, to both games, but traditionally there’s excitement around the first and last games, and it’s just harder for as many as possible to get to both with the way it’s fallen.
“However, we just have to get on with it. We have to play every game home and away so it’s just how it is. There’s still plenty to look forward to.
“We’ll take big followings to places like Bury, Oldham and Tranmere so they’re particular games I was waiting for. I think teams like MK Dons and Northampton Town will be strong, so I’m sure there’ll be anticipation as we go there and when they come here.
“One thing we’re all aware of is that our home form wasn’t great last season. As a player and as a manager I didn’t like coming here, and I want to make sure we make it tough for every team who comes to play here.
“Doing well on your own patch is massive if you’re going to compete and let’s make no bones about it, we want to compete. We want to get out of this division.”
“In fact, let’s be clear, I’ve come here to get success at the first attempt,” he added. “I know the fans aren’t daft, they can listen to the talk and I can say all sorts, so what matters is what happens out on the pitch.
“Our fans want us to be successful and that’s my aim. There is absolutely no reason why we can’t be a top seven side. There’s a good squad building here and I want the players to enjoy their work with us.
“I’ve said it before, if they have smiles on their faces they’ll perform better. I like a laugh and a joke but I’m also serious and tough when I have to be. That’s why I’m looking for the right characters and players to add to the mix to give us every chance to be competitive.”
First team coach Paul Murray said: “There are some interesting games in there because there’ll be a few clubs who will feel they can do well.
“I think Bury is the one I’ll be looking for. Lee Dykes is with them, they’ll recruit well, and they’ll be targeting an immediate return to League One. I expect them to be up there and amongst it come the end of the season.
“Tranmere are a big club and I’m pleased they’re back in the Football League. They’ll be another good test and we can look forward to some good games against them. To be honest, we’re looking forward to all of them because we think it’s going to be an exciting season.”
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For the full 2018/19 fixture list, click HERE.