In the final part of our interview with director of football David Holdsworth he speaks more about dealing with agents, squad size, getting value for money and on utilising the loan market effectively.
When talking with agents and representatives, he said: “We won’t be bullied, you can count on that.
“I respect that people have to do their job, but we work in a certain way. It doesn’t make me popular, but we aren’t here for a popularity contest. The key to it is that our club will be run economically, and it will certainly be organised and professional.”
With just nine players currently contracted for next season – four of them having stepped up from the youth team – he admitted that it was a different kind of challenge as he looks to assist the manager with his recruitment drive.
“It’s new, and it’s a position I’ve never been in before,” he told us. “The good thing is that Steven has identified where he feels we need to strengthen and the plan he’s put together is a good plan.
“We’ll support him and it’s then his job to motivate, create and get the players to perform. It’s a good thing for Steven, it really is, and he’ll enjoy this part. I’ve already had a number of conversations where I can hear the little spring in his voice, and that’s a great thing to hear.”
On lessons learned from the challenges the club faced through last season, he commented: “In my eyes we had a very successful season last season. Given the fact we came in extremely late, we then brought in a manager who departed at Christmas, and that was a tough place to be at this club. But John [Sheridan] had made his mind up, and I actually think we got through that very healthily.
“The club has learned again on certain situations and, in terms of recruitment and the policy we’ve had probably for the last five years, a lot of the legacies and things that were given out are clearing up. It probably won’t be for another year that the process is completed, but we’ll deal with the consequences of that.
“The key to it is that you must be organised, determined and have the characteristic where you can make things happen when sometimes other people can’t. It isn’t about throwing money about, it really isn’t. It’s about getting value for money and having sufficient numbers of people who do their jobs and who pull their shirt on with pride.
“We have fantastic staff inside this football club and that buoys me on more than anything. I’m working with hard working people who really want the best for the club. On match days, and we’ve just been to Yeovil, and you see an amazing level of support who went down there and sang their hearts out. We have to work hard for those people who follow us home and away.
“But no, we won’t be throwing money about, and we won’t be putting ourselves in a position where we’re vulnerable. You don’t get success based on that. I really don’t see that as a policy we could ever operate in the future.
“We have fantastic sponsors and some great support. Already we’re seeing people come through the door telling us that they want to come and support Carlisle next season. That’s new faces and some old ones, and dealing with them is part of the job I really enjoy.”
Having talked about spending money wisely he confirmed that the squad will tailored to fit the plans for the season ahead.
“We’ve already done our homework on and we know what it’s going to take,” he confirmed. “If you want to have 25 or 26 players in the squad, you’re probably going to have nine in the stand each week. That just isn’t cash worthy at all. That’s throwing away money just to have it sitting in the stand, so there’s no point in that.
“We’ll be looking at a squad between 19 and 21, I would say. It all depends on timing, availability and, again, we will use the loan market if we have to. I think that will be a good thing.
“If you look at Callum O’Hare, and the impression Jerry Yates made on us, there are good loan options out there. We were a little bit unlucky with a couple of lads who came in at Christmas. You can’t do anything about injuries, and that was telling for us.
“Mark Cullen and Arthur Gnahoua came in and unfortunately for them, and us, they got injured. We suffered because of that, but we did try to go like-for-like.
“We lost Yates and we brought in a proven goal scorer in Cullen. Nadesan went back to his club and we brought in Gnahoua, and he picked up his injury after 15 minutes of his first game. We lost Sowerby so we brought in O’Hare, and what a brilliant replacement he was. We were successful, but injuries did have their impact.”
And concluding on the volume of work ahead, he said: “I love it, absolutely love it, because I’m working with good people.
“It is demanding but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of hard work. We’ve been working hard all year. My policy is to take the bull by the horns and support Steven and the club as much as I can, on and off the pitch.”
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