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INTERVIEW: He brings a different aspect to attacking

Chris Beech on the arrival of Lewis Alessandra

24 January 2020

Head coach Chris Beech made Lewis Alessandra his fifth January addition this morning when he brought the forward in on a half-season deal following this week’s departure of Hallam Hope to Swindon.

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The 30-year-old, who has recently been revealed as second in the list of top League Two assist providers for the last decade, will be available for the weekend visit of Walsall and will take part in his first official training session with the club this afternoon.

Speaking about the signing at his Friday morning press conference, Chris Beech said: “He’s an experienced player who was available, and it’s not a loan, which is excellent.

“It’s a permanent signing and he’s got a lot to prove in terms of what he can offer us, so we’ve put him on a contract that represents that. I know him from the past and he’s a very professional person.

“He’s an excellent finisher, he’s bright and he’s been a big part of the first half of the season with goals and assists at his previous club, and he’s actually very good at starting goals, which isn’t often logged. That’s because assists are taken as the last pass before a goal, but he’s often had a hand in, or been the creator of, many goals his teams score.”

“I’m just really happy and pleased that he’s here,” he added. “He brings a wealth of experience, he’s played at a lot of football clubs and he’s scored in different divisions.

“He’s been part of some really good goals and he’s got good individual goals as well, so who wouldn’t want that? We’ve managed to get it, so I’m really pleased for the club. It’s a good opportunity for him, and it’s good to have him come in to support the players we’ve already got.

“I don’t think he’s an out-and-out striker, but those guys are hard to come by. That’s people like Gary Madine, who is talked about a lot around here, a local hero. I know Gary from when he was 15/16-years-old and I did speak to him at Cardiff … it’s people like that you want to try and recruit in terms of adding that aspect, but you’ve got to be realistic with it too.

“Lewis brings a different aspect to attacking and I’ve often said in my interviews that sometimes you have to find a different way, because you can’t necessarily just go out there and pay for the answer.

“When we played Bradford they brought on Vaughan and they’ve now got Doyle. What a great place to be as a manager to be able to have choices like that. I’m trying to create that here, but it takes time. That’s why I’m pleased to get Lewis who is an excellent football player who can add some attacking prowess to our game.”

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On how he sees the new signing being utilised in the coming weeks, he said: “He’s versatile, he can play in any of the front three positions, or the front four positions.

“He can play deeper, he can even play as an attacking midfield player. Technically he’s very good, very good on the ball, he’s an excellent finisher, so I see him in one of those attacking roles.

“I know he hasn’t played for a few weeks but I think that was probably due to his negotiations of not accepting or accepting a contract. The manager at Morecambe must have decided to do what he does, he’s decided not to play him, from our perspective it’s great he’s become available and that we’ve managed to get him here.

“I’m really pleased that again we’ve been backed. It was done very quickly, David Holdsworth again was excellent in terms of getting it signed up, we’ve put him in a position that he knows he needs to do well to make sure he’s working strongly in professional football next season, and that’s good for everybody.

“From a striker’s perspective, or an offset striker, wide striker, whatever you want to call these lads who play up front, I had conversations last night with somebody in recruiting about a midfield player, a box-to-box midfield player, the first thing that comes back is, ‘I’m a 4, no I’m an 8, I can play 10’. What has happened to us in modern football, I do not know.

“It’s the same with an attacker. He’s going to bring assists, goals, good techniques, he can change direction very well with the football, he’s intelligent enough to slide somebody in when it’s not necessarily his best choice to shoot, so he makes those good footballing decisions, which is why he’s been a professional footballer for so long. I want him to bring those consistent traits to us.

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“Officially today’s his first day, but I know Lewi from the past, he was at Rochdale, I do know what he can bring and, as an older player, I know he’s had experiences at different level of football and he has a responsibility to his game. He will take that responsibility wearing a Carlisle shirt.”

And with Hallam Hope heading out of the door to join the Robins, he told us: “I know for the 12 games with me that Hallam was disappointed with his goal return.

“We’ve got the wingers who have scored four each, or the attacking strikers, or however we want to call them, but it’s about players in the last third doing good things. Hallam didn’t hit that height, but I know he’d done it in the previous season.

“I think he responded well to what we were doing and he definitely put his shifts in. He could be relied on to do a job for the team and he kept the opponents and the full backs occupied for us.

“He’s moved on now, and that happens in football. The deal was good for the club and it was an avenue Hallam wanted to pursue, so that’s another factor to this that you have to bear in mind. He’s gone now, that’s the game, and it enables me to now do different things, so we’ve made it all fit.”

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