Carlisle boss Steven Pressley confirmed this afternoon that a bid has been turned down from an unnamed club this week for Hallam Hope, with the striker still very much part of his plans for the season ahead.
“If there is a situation where any personnel moves out then we definitely have to bring, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “We had interest in Hallam [Hope] and we turned down an offer on him.
“That was from a club I won’t mention, out of respect, and it would be wrong for me to name them. I spoke to Hallam yesterday regarding it. I’ve told him that I don’t want him to go, and that I want him to be part of this team moving forward this season.
“I understand that he has ambition, that I also respect, but I do want him to be part of this team. He’s a really good player, a key player, and we had a good conversation about us moving forward.
“I’m not aware of any indication that there will be another offer coming, now that one has been turned down, but that’s not something I get involved with. I’m at the tail end of it, but I always feel that it’s important that I speak to the player and that I manage him.”
“I can make it clear that I want Hallam to stay,” he continued. “The situation has never changed, and I’ve said this from day one. I had a conversation with Hallam in the summer where he made it clear to me that if the right offer came in from a club he believes could fulfil his ambition then he wanted it to be considered.
“That is what he made clear to me, and I made it clear to him that I would like him to stay. It’s the same situation just now, but we know that the window is just about to close. If it goes beyond the window and doesn’t sign a new contract, there’s then a danger of us losing him for nothing.
“These are all of the considerations for the club but, just purely between me and the player, I’d like him to stay.”
Confirming that plans are in place, should it reach a point where the player did move on, he explained: “We have targets in mind because we’ve always got to try to stay ahead of the game.
“We always have to look at the next possibility, so that’s something we are actively thinking about. If we did end up in a position where we need to bring somebody else in, it would be a permanent deal.
“Out of respect for the parent clubs and the loan players, I wouldn’t sign a sixth loan which would mean one then couldn’t be involved in the squad. Players come here on loan with the belief they’re going to be involved, so I won’t be signing a sixth loan player.”
And speaking about his team selection for Saturday, he told us: “In all areas of the pitch we look for variety, and that’s why we recruited in the manner we did.
“Canice Carroll is an example of that, and I’m pleased that he’s available again. He’s different to what we have in midfield, but I have to say that I thought our midfield was a shining light for us on Tuesday.
“I didn’t think that area was the reason we lost the game and, in fact, they were why we played so well in the second half.
“It’s the same with the strikers. I’ll use different attributes in certain games and that will mean using certain personnel.”
On the need for a good performance on Saturday, he said: “One win can change the whole feeling around the place, so it’s over to us to get that result.
“That’s the reality of the situation and you won’t find me hiding behind anything. Yes, we’re a new team, and we’re still trying to bring everything together, but the need is there to get results. I know that.
“We have to try to win this game tomorrow and we have to show the fans that we can get back to the exciting football which had us all feeling so positive just a week ago.”
With Salford the new kids on the block, he said: “They’re a team that’s strong in both boxes. They’ll certain come here to defend their lines and to push us hard when they attack.
“I know Graham Alexander really well and he’s a manager who has done an excellent job everywhere he’s been. He’s put a good team together there, but I know we have the players who can impose our game on them as well.
“We want to do it at home and we want to make Brunton Park a tough place for teams to come to. We can achieve that by not giving away the silly goals we’ve conceded in recent games and by sticking to the way that suits the good individuals within our group.
“We can’t compete with Salford financially, we know that, but that doesn’t mean we can’t compete man-for-man on the pitch. That’s what I expect from our players and I won’t accept anything less.”