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Interviews

MANAGER: It has been unsettling for him

Steven Pressley on Hallam Hope and on the transfer window closure

3 September 2019

United boss Steven Pressley spoke today about the late deadline day bid received for Hallam Hope and about what he wants from his striker going forward, now that it’s confirmed that he will be remaining with the Blues.

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“I actually don’t know anything about the bid itself,” he said. “That’s something where the club received the offer directly. I spoke to David [Holdsworth] at 4pm yesterday afternoon [Monday] and that was the last time I spoke to him.

“We’d decided by then that if anything else was to happen then we weren’t in a position where we could act quickly enough to accept it. Obviously between me talking to him and the window closing there was a late offer put in there, but I don’t know anything about the detail of that offer.”

On why offers like this tend to come during the final hour of a window, he told us: “I think offers come so late – and this is from knowing a lot of managers and how it can be on transfer deadline day for them – because people are juggling a number of options.

“Sometimes if an option falls through you go to the next option, and maybe that’s what happened here. If this was going to be the first option then it would have happened quicker, but it was maybe a situation where a club has moved on somebody, that fell through, and then they came to enquire about Hallam.

“For us, once it got to 4pm there was no way we were in a situation where we could have accepted any offer.”

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With the player having been the subject of interest almost from the moment the last whistle was blown last season, we wondered if it had unsettled him any way, particularly as offers continued to come in.

“Hallam has been through a long period of time where he’s been unsettled, but with the window closed he now knows that his focus is here at Carlisle,” he commented. “That’s good news because I do think it’s affected him, to be perfectly honest with you.

“I don’t think Hallam has been fully focussed on his job here because of all of this speculation and I think it’s been unsettling for him that there’s been interest throughout the summer. That’s why the closure is a good thing both for him and for the club.

“Now we know for the next four or five months that this is where he’s going to be. If he is going to leave in the January window, or at the end of this season, then he has to earn the right to do that.

“If that does turn out to be the case then hopefully it’s because we’ve seen the best of Hallam Hope between now and then.”

“Look, there’s been a lot of noise in the background and we all know that the psychological aspects of football are so important,” he added. “If that’s affected it can then easily knock on to affect performance.

“Hopefully now that we are where we are with him we’ll see a completely refocussed player who can reproduce the goals that were so important to the team last season. I can’t give any guarantees that will be the case, but I think that if he does want to progress his career in the way he says he wants to then he can only do that by performing.

“You’re forgotten about in football very quickly. You can have a great season, then it doesn’t work, and people start to look elsewhere. That’s why the top players do it every season, because they know to stay at the top they have to be consistent.

“Hallam now has to show he’s capable of playing at a higher level by continuing to perform here for us. I’ve spoken to Hallam a number of times during this period and I know it hasn’t always been easy for him.

“I don’t think there needs to be much else said now. He knows this is where he’s going to be and he needs to fight to get back in that team and to play regularly.”

On his thoughts on the transfer window in general, he said: “I’m a fan of the transfer window because from a manager’s perspective it makes you work harder with the group you have.

“In bygone days if you had a bad result you went out and tried to sign another player. If you had another bad result you went and got another one.

“The reality now is that when you have a bad result, or disappointments between transfer windows, your job as a manager is to try to pick the players up, to manage them and to do what it takes to galvanise them. I think from that perspective it’s a good thing.”

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But is he happy with where the squad is now as we head into another busy run of games?

“Like any manager, we’d all love more resource, that’s the reality of it, but considering the resource we’re working with I believe that we’ve recruited reasonably well,” he told us.

“But we have to be understanding of the resource, and at this moment in time this is a club that’s revamped a number of the aspects of the way we do things. We’re a club that wants to run a sustainable model, and that’s what we’re doing.

“Part of that sustainable model is that we need quite a lot of development players within the group. They need to come in at the right financial levels and getting them to where we need them to be takes time.

“My job now is to work with these types of players to make sure I’m maximising the group and getting the best out of everybody, because we’re still a group that feels it can win any game when we play to the levels we know we can reach.”

One market still available to all clubs is the free agent market, but the manager confirmed that he’s not looking to utilise that route at this moment in time.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen at all, no,” he confirmed. “We are where we are, and we’re obviously working really hard with this group of players to try and progress and improve.

“That’s where our focus is and we’re comfortable with that.”


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