The Blues head into the new season with a decent crop of homegrown talent in the first team ranks with Lewis Bell, Josh Dixon, Keelan Leslie and Taylor Charters all flying the flag for the club’s academy system.
And, of course, let’s not forget the trio of second-year scholars – Gabe Breeze, Sam Fishburn and Scott Simons – who have just put their signatures to their first professional deals and who could find themselves pulled away from under-18 duties at various stages during this coming campaign.
“I think it’s big for the club that we have Cumbrian talent involved at this level,” manager Chris Beech said. “It’s something clubs like Carlisle have to do, it’s very important.
“It helps the community connect to the club and if you look in the past it was something that was very significant in my old club, because half of my youth team ended up playing in the first team.
“If you look at Manchester United, the Class of ’92, I don’t think they’d have had the kind of success they had over that 20-year period under Sir Alex without them. It’s because it was the soul and heart of the club.
“As that grew, and they got stronger as individuals within that, they also got stronger as a club because they didn’t have to buy the answers all the time, like other Premier League clubs had to do. They had their core values.
“For us, I’m really interested to see how it can progress, and I think if you have a door slightly open – you know, when’s a door not a door, when it’s ajar, that really bad joke – but when it’s slightly ajar it gives opportunity for growth.
“If you keep filing the squad up, overstock, nobody ever gets a chance, and often an answer becomes an answer because it wasn’t planned. The players answer the questions that come.
“If you overstock you never really give an opportunity for these young players to answer them, so I’m looking forward to seeing these lads step up and make a difference.
“What we have to remember, though, is that it isn’t my job to make sure that these lads get better, but at the same time we’re not winning games. I have to concentrate on winning while they do get better, so we get our points and they progress further. That’s our aim.”
With attacking midfielder Lewis Bell having had to battle back from Covid through the second half of last season, the gaffer confirmed that it’s been good to see him firing on all cylinders once again through this first week of double sessions.
“We spoke about how of a bad time he had with Covid and there are many others out there who have been through the same,” he told us. “The good thing is that he hasn’t missed a session.
“We talk about building up immune systems, and I have a thing where I talk about building up your football immune system. It’s about having an ability to take knocks, setbacks, deal with pressure, and having a response when you’re psychologically tired.
“You have to build up that football immune system where you don’t just do it once then need three days off. You need that ability to go again, to cope with getting kicked and stand up and carry on.
“I look at Lionel Messi and his young career, and I imagine the pitches he played on and who tried to whack him. He’ll have had to deal with it, but he hasn’t bought an excuse from it to not become one of the best players in the world.
“Why not use that as an example and that’s why Lewi, Josh Dixon, Taylor Charters, they’ve got to do that. They’ve got to build their football immune system up while they make a significant difference to our team.”
And the gauntlet has also been laid down for the aforementioned second year under-18 players who have made their first step into the senior world.
“I think the people of Carlisle want to see things like this,” he said. “They want to see their own good young players make a mark.
“Gabe is a massive Carlisle fan as well as someone who wants to play football for the club. He is so committed to this football club it’s ridiculous, and that commitment he has, it’s commendable. Local people want to see that.
“In terms of him being ready right now I’d say it was probably too early, but he’s got opportunity to grow and get in our system in the professional ranks and have a good go.
“That’s the same for Sam and Scott. They’ve got their contracts because there’s real potential there, and it’s right for us to give them a chance when that’s the case. I think it’s vital you have growth and opportunity in any business.
“There’s nothing worse than being stifled. We’ve got to make sure we do things right, and I just use different businesses as examples.
“If you’ve got a restaurant that’s overstocked with waiters, you’ve got more people doing less, but when you’ve got less and they’re prepared to do more to make it work, it can be smoother.
“They’re working very hard to make sure they serve everybody. You have to try and find that balance on what you’re trying to achieve.”