Carlisle United are delighted to announce that Gavin Skelton will step up to join Steven Pressley’s first team staff, as assistant manager, with immediate effect.
The former-Workington and Queen of the South manager brings a wealth of playing, coaching and managing experience to the role, having worked most recently as the academy Professional Development Phase Coach here at Brunton Park.
Skelton, 38, joined the club’s centre of excellence as an eight-year-old and played both sides of the border with over 200 appearances for Gretna in a seven-year stay one of the highlights of his career.
United boss Steven Pressley said: “We went through a process and interviewed several people who we thought fitted the profile. Off the back of that I thought Gav was very much an excellent fit for what I required.
“He’s experienced, having been a manager himself, so he understands the difficulties of the role and he completely gets the type of support that a manager requires, which I thought was important.
“I also think from the club’s perspective it’s good that the coaches in the football club can see a pathway. Gav has worked with the under-18s and stepped up, so they can see there’s a pathway if they develop and mature into the right type of coach.
“The big thing though, as I say, is that he is a really hard worker and he understands the role of a manager. He’s very passionate about the football club and he has a very good manner with people. He’s a very respectable person and he integrates well with those around him, which is also an important factor. He ticked many of the boxes, and it brings a degree of continuity.
“Gav observed the way I worked last year and I know he enjoyed working alongside me. When I asked him to help us out by going to watch games, and with different things like that, nothing was ever too much for him.
“He’s really demonstrated his desire to be the type of coach I require. I’m really pleased with the appointment.”
Director of football David Holdsworth said: “We’re delighted that Gav will be taking on this role because he’s a person we trust and like.
“The responsibilities of the role have been made clear by Steven, which is something the manager wanted to do, and Gav is more than happy to take that on.
“Both Steven and I have had good conversations with him and we know this is a challenge and a next step in his career he is really looking forward to.
“He’s a local lad who knows this club inside out and he is desperate to help us to get the success we want. We think Steven and Gav will bounce off each other really well and we’re looking forward to watching them put their ideas into action.”
“Looking ahead, Steven knows the format he’ll be working with and that’s why it had to be down to him as to who he wanted working alongside him,” he added. “It’s important that the manager has the structure he wants in place.
“We’re there with that now and we’re all looking forward to an exciting few months ahead, both in terms of the recruitment work we have to do and the build-up towards the new season.”
Meanwhile former-United right back Mark Birch has been appointed as the club's Professional Development Phase coach, stepping into the position just vacated by Skelton.
Stoke-born Birch, 42, played over 100 games for the Blues between 2000 and 2003 and also spent five years with Gretna as part of what was a 20-year playing career.
He took over as the academy Foundation Phase Coach here at Brunton Park in July 2015.