With United heading into the weekend game off the back of the FA Cup victory over Forest Green on Tuesday night, head coach Chris Beech spoke about what had been a positive week at his Friday morning press conference.
“It’s been a brilliant week,” he said. “We beat Forest Green in the replay in pretty poor conditions, the lads stuck to task and scored a very good goal, scored another goal that was offside, so if you look at the two games against one of the best teams in our division we’ve done very well against them.
Like I’ve said, the only currency of first-team football is three points. Irrelevant of how good the week has or hasn’t been, when those lights go on, you’ve got to represent and perform. It’s vital that we represent community values, because they can relate to that in the team.
“Hard work, endeavour, consistent behaviours – those are things I respect and other people do too. The lads have been very good since I’ve come in. The squad’s a little bit thin at the moment but in terms of winning habits, you’ve got to be consistent in your behaviours, respond to setbacks, deal with speed bumps and a bit of turbulence that might come.
“You’ll never get it all your own way so what you’re prepared to do about it at that point will determine your outcomes. Often it isn’t the best plan that gets you through, but the ability to adapt to that plan and come out hopefully with three points.”
With some of the players suffering bangs and knocks, he told us: “There’s 18 fit players, and I want, again, the standards at the club to raise in all departments.
“It’s important we recognise when the lads are sat in that room it does cost the club opportunities and finance, but Dolly’s been excellent since I’ve come in, he’s kept me up to date on everything and making sure he’s on top of those lads, because we do need them.
“We saw that with what we did at the reserve game on Wednesday. I’ve actually seen the youth team play twice this season, by coincidence, against Fleetwood and in the FA Youth Cup at Salford.
“I watched the reserve game the other day against Wigan, who are a strong in that age group, and those players have generally played a lot of football together. It was really good to see the lads stick together and play some good football.
“Mo Sagaf had a very good game, I was really pleased with that. I shook his hand at half-time and said ‘welcome to Carlisle United’ because I’d not seen that in the first two and a half weeks that I’ve been here. It was great from my perspective to see that – wow, there’s a player there.
“It’s hard sometimes for football players being patient. Fela, Christie and Elias played in that game, they’d be disappointed they didn’t play on Tuesday, and the next minute they’re at Penrith on a Wednesday playing Wigan’s under-23s.
“They dealt with that very well, professionally, had a go, but it’s vital you apply yourselves to those matches. They are football players. Getting minutes in you, refining your skills, speeding up your mind – it’s vital you do it properly.”
As to how the whirlwind nature of the last few weeks has helped him to settle in, he commented: “I really like the area and the people. I feel like I can relate to the conversations I have when I meet our fans and I’ve met several, it’s fantastic. I’ll take the time to speak to them because they deserve it.
“The players have been very good, they’ve got to keep improving, the youth system – I’ve known Eric a long time, there’s a respect there. He’s done unbelievably for this club in the past and in the present. In terms of settling in, and getting feet under the table, I’ve enjoyed it and found it very easy.”