United boss Chris Beech secured his first January transfer window signing ahead of the Crewe away game on Wednesday when he announced the arrival of Wolves midfielder Elliot Watt on a half-season loan deal.
Speaking about the new arrival, he said: “He’s a good lad, Preston born so geographics are good for Carlisle. He’s itching to play league football.
“He’s energised, enthusiastic, excellent at receiving and releasing the ball, and he looks to play in the system that Wolves play in, because the 23s play same as the first team.
“He’s a good passer, has a good range of passing, but playing first team football and League Two football is completely different from being in a system where everybody’s on the same wavelength and doing the same thing.
“There are different factors that affect a game, different anomalies. There’s more 6ft 4in strikers, there’s more breaks in play, more offsides and fouls, a lack of discipline in lower league players in terms of staying on feet longer, and the ball is out of play more. He’ll have to adjust but I want him to make a big impact.”
“He’s going to get a chance,” he continued. “I see him as a player who can receive and release the ball. He’s a good midfield player and he’s somebody that is ambitious.
“We’re getting him from one of the best academies in the country at Wolves, they’ve got loads of under-23 footballers, you’ve seen them play Carlisle ... that’s the sort of standards they have.
“I want him to come in here fresh, energised and make a difference. He’s good enough to go straight in, but everybody has to earn their right.”
With the window now open, we wondered if we were close to any other additions to the United squad.
“We are, but the shop has just opened, as such, so we’ve got to make sure we keep our eyes open, our ears to the floor and work very hard on what’s available,” he commented. “I’ve been speaking to a lot of people, which is difficult at this time of the year because you’ve got all these games.
“Having Jacob [Blain, club analyst] helps because we can get video footage of certain aspects of players. My staff have been going outside their duties to watch football matches as well.
“I have said before that this window is difficult unless you’ve got all the cash. But, of course, this window is more determined by loans rather than permanents. There are some clubs that want to shake up their squads and give opportunity by paying up contracts. That’s almost swapping players, if you like.
“I’ve had conversations with a few managers, a lot of conversations with David Holdsworth, and we’ve got our eye on the needs of the team to move this forward.”
Along with the need to recruit, the transfer window brings with it speculation about outgoings, particularly with some of the younger members of the group.
“I’m hearing all kinds of rumours about Jarrad [Branthwaite] but I don’t know, honestly, anything about that,” he said. “He was here today [Crewe], he’s injured and he was sat in the crowd. I have no information whatsoever to share with you.
“He was unavailable because of his thigh and I’m unaware of anything else. He was due to play against Walsall but the day before the game his thigh tightened up. He’s had it scanned, it’s there, the little strain is there, so he’s not available.
“I met his parents on Tuesday and they’ve told me they’ve booked hotels in Cardiff. I’m hopeful they’ll not be going and not watching him play. I’d not met them since I came into the job and being under-18 it’s important to get to know the family.
“I don’t know if the thigh issue could be a longer problem. You get these strains on those groin muscles. He’s not fully developed as a physical person, he’s still growing, but we’re hopeful that it will heal quickly.”
Limping from the field of play in the second half on Wednesday was Mo Sagaf, following a second half tussle with Owen Dale.
“We’re not sure where we’re at with that yet,” he explained. “Not sure yet. Hallam Hope hurt his back from the challenge when the lad rolled him. He whacked the floor and tried to carry on, but we could tell he wasn’t right.
“Mike Jones put him through, a great ball, but he didn’t have that extra gear he’s normally got to tap home. Goals change game, you saw that, and we didn’t have the capabilities of getting another.”
“Obviously Stefan Scougall was missing as well,” he added. “He’s on antibiotics, we’ve changed them, got stronger ones, and this would have been a perfect game for him because of the rotation of the football and way they rotate.
“Scougall has the energy to press and press again, and that would have enabled me to … I didn’t know that information until first thing this morning, I gave him as much chance as possible so that he could to play. When a change is made, you adapt and go with it, that’s what the squad’s for.
“Christie [Elliott] was also ill. That’s disappointing because he was in the Walsall squad. He couldn’t turn up for it because he was poorly. With the other players who weren’t here, all of them have got futures, futures in football.
“I’m not individualising them in terms of this. It’s nothing to do with their fault for getting beat at Crewe, but there are certain things you need to represent yourself in. You do things correctly and consistently, you get rewards.”
And on a first appearance for the club for teenager Taylor Charters, he commented: “He’s a good football player. I want to work with ambitious, committed players. Young players are important, along with the experienced players, as to where we’re trying to get to.
“It’ll have done him good. There was a moment when he pinged the ball across, it was a double ricochet and we should be tapping home, but we didn’t.”
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