Head coach Chris Beech spoke more about the weekend away day at Cardiff which saw the team earn a third-round replay in this season’s Emirates FA Cup competition courtesy of goals from Jack Bridge and Harry McKirdy.
“As I said after the game, I was really pleased with the performance, really excited by how we took our opponents on and challenged them physically, technically and from a psychological point of view,” he said. “I really enjoyed the whole occasion and I’m very proud to be here as head coach of the football club and representing the supporters who were so vocal it was ridiculous.
“I think tactically we’ve been quite good in the nine games I’ve taken. We saw again we wanted to win at the end of the 90 minutes. To get the two great opportunities we got with Hallam Hope and Ryan loft, I honestly thought we were going to take one of them.
“I think the supporters helped us, they’ve had a long day to come and support us and it’ll be good to take Cardiff back to our place for them. We can’t get ahead of ourselves, Neil’s an experienced, fantastic manager, and they’re going to come strong.
“We’ll get a plan together and deal with it. It’s another game at home, which is fantastic, because I’ve only had three in nine. I’m really looking forward to it and we’ll get ready for it. I’m really happy with how this small squad has dealt with so many matches, illness and injury, and that tells me they’re fully behind what we’re trying to achieve.
“It’s their team, not mine, it’s everybody’s – Carlisle United, we’ve got to unite the club, we’ve got to look forward.”
Looking ahead to the Monday night draw, he told us: “We’ve got Cardiff next, that’s all I’m focused on. Being in the hat for the fourth-round draw is to be celebrated without a shadow of doubt.
“The hard work we’ve put in previously - the previous manager did great beating a non-league team under pressure. We did great beating a Forest Green team who don’t concede goals at home. This opportunity was deserved, to be enjoyed, but the players didn’t half apply themselves, they showed great spirit.”
Switching focus to the January transfer window, he commented: “Along with David Holdsworth and the staff that help me, we’re constantly looking to improve what we are.
“It’s possible that we’ll add to the squad before the weekend and we have been active. It’s been really hard playing the games, constantly on the telephone, it’s part of wanting to improve things.
“David’s been a great support, we’ve been very active in terms of trying to link and get some more support to the squad. We’ll be able to say more once we get closer to making things happen.
“Obviously I’m looking to create healthy competition because that helps you to get wins sometimes even when you don’t deserve it, because there’s always somebody on top of you coming in and you’re having to do well to keep your opportunity. I want to make sure the quality coming in is as good if not better than what the lads are.
“I have mentioned before that in January transfer windows it’s very difficult to get permanent signings, but I am actively seeking them along with different opportunities that may happen. It’s like spinning plates and you often have three or four different options.
“The bigger clubs are in control because they control their finance within the deal. But we’re ultimately really busy and I’m hopeful of delivering and having some good news.”
And on Jon Mellish being back in the team on Saturday, he said: “I look at opponents but also why we’ve lost those two games in my nine. It was important after Crewe that we got the message across that we need to fight at the right time, not after the fight has finished.
“I can only do what I think is best to protect and progress Carlisle. Sometimes that’s making strong, hard decisions. It’s no disrespect to any individual within that decision. It’s to make sure we grow and get stronger because it’s not accepted that we lose football matches.
“Injury wise Jarrad Branthwaite had a simple thigh strain,” he said. “He’s had a scan and Dolly knows exactly where he is. I expect him to be available for Plymouth. It’s his body, but to play on that stage would have been great for him as a young player, but it was great to have another one come on in Taylor Charters.
“He’s doing well, I’ve challenged the players within the youth system to meet higher standards. We’ve got to constantly try and get three or four players through that youth system that aren’t just an easy option, because they need to earn their stripes and the right to get in the first team.
“Christie [Elliott] was ill, which was a shame. Mo Sagaf picked up the ankle injury at Walsall but he’s not too bad.”
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