United's return to stage one training has seen boss Chris Beech and his staff get creative as they deal with the restrictions of socially distanced sessions and non-contact training.
But, despite that, the Carlisle manager couldn't hide his enthusiasm and excitement as he caught up with the official site for the first time in what we can now call the 20/21 pre-season period.
“It’s superb to be back,” he said. “It’s a beautiful day at Creighton today and although we’re having to follow the Covid protocols, we’ve done a couple of sessions already and it has been going well. I’m really excited and looking forward to it.
“I feel like I’ve got my mojo back being back out on the training pitch with the players. The lads have come back fit and I’m really pleased with them.
"They’ve been working hard but it will get harder now, and as we progress it will get more realistic in terms of what we want to be as a team. We’ve got to build a culture and environment that supports development, but more importantly getting three points."
And with the fans desperate to hear news of new arrivals, he commented: “As we progress each day, we’ll be looking to add to recruitment so that we’re ready for the new season.
"We’ve now got a date for starting, which is really good, because we’ve been waiting a long time for that. I’m excited and the lads are as well, but I’m not sure how they’ll be feeling after the training sessions!
"The situation has been difficult for many different people in many different ways, but we’ve been working hard to make connections with players to try and get them into the club. It has been difficult, we are in a pandemic, and a lot of players left the building which has opened up an opportunity for progress.
“During this time it has been tricky to get the finances to match up. Anybody can spot a player, but it’s about making sure the deal is right and that it doesn’t put the football club at risk.
"The club should be very proud of how they’ve dealt with this situation. There hasn’t been any deferrals of wages and nobody has had their wages cut or lost their job. A lot of clubs aren’t like that.
"That makes me feel good about being here, and I want to represent the supporters in what we’re doing. We’ve got to connect, and we’ll do that by working hard so that when they can come back, which they will one day, we’re in a better position to be winning games.
"In terms of players we're adding, it’s going to be a young, vibrant group that we’re putting together, so they will need to be patient.”
The training sessions may be socially distanced, but that hasn't changed the level of intensity you would expect to see at this early stage of pre-season.
“Modern players always come back in good shape,” he told us. “From a manager’s point of view it has been good that they haven’t been able to go off and do whatever they do in places like Ibiza, as they usually would.
"They’ll have enjoyed the break initially, like I’m sure most people did in any field of work, but they’ll have quickly got bored and missed the rhythm and routines. I think everybody around the club, whatever they do, is just pleased to be back.
“We’ve got our group of players which is starting to come together. Although I direct and make the decisions on the players that are here, it’s a congruent effort and all of the staff have worked hard.
"We’ve been trying to recruit players when we’ve got furlough to deal with, and we’re also in a situation where contracts have been quite complicated.
“We’re currently training in small groups of five, but just before this interview I had my coronavirus test ahead of us hopefully moving to stage two training on Monday.
"That will mean we can have contact training which will be really good for us. It’s alright doing individual stuff but it’s good to see players fighting for the ball, but we can’t do that yet.
"We’ll hopefully be able to do that next week if all of the tests go well and it will be another good step forward.”
In the second part of our interview with the manager, on the official channels on Thursday morning, we'll be talking about training protocols, a 'no excuse environment' and how some good news on signing should be coming our way very soon.
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