Carlisle United are delighted to confirm that former-Blue Dan Hanford has made a return to Brunton Park as the club’s keeper coach.
Hanford, 30, born in South Wales, started his career with Swansea before joining Rochdale at the age of 16, where he worked under current manager Chris Beech.
A spell with Clitheroe preceded a move to the Glenn Hoddle Academy in Spain. He returned to England to play for Hereford, but it was a troubled period for the Bulls and he accepted an offer to play in Malta, where he picked up silverware during a successful season with Floriana.
Two seasons with United followed and he played much of the 2014/15 League Two season between the posts, making 27 appearances in total through that campaign.
More experience was gained with Gateshead and Southport as he set about working on his coaching and mentoring qualifications.
Manager Chris Beech said: “Dan lives in Carlisle and that’s what we’re after, that affiliation. If there’s one thing I’ve been able to do since I came here with the support staff is get them Carlisle based.
“I think that’s important because it allows the players to be able to access the players and the staff more readily. Greg Short, Jacob Blain and now Dan Hanford all live within a mile or two of our ground, and I do think that’s really important.
“When you’re in the thick of a season you need recoveries, or physio, or some individual analysis, or whatever it might be, and the lads know that the staff are here to do that with them.”
“Dan was a bit gutted when I initially rang him because I think he got excited thinking that he could be one of our goalkeepers,” he added. “But I said to him that he was going to have to take his foot off the gas that way.
“He’s ambitious, he’s young, he’s energised and he can still play, but ultimately I want him to look at how he goes about improving himself and our keepers. He’ll do that by becoming detailed and very good at coaching.
“One of my best friends from football, from when I played, was Martyn Margetson. He’s now the England first-team goalkeeping coach, and we see him with his hand on the shoulder of players like Marcus Rashford, telling them what to do at set-plays, and I think back to some Wednesday nights in Huddersfield and a few lock-ins we had, and I think - wow Marge, well done!
“Don’t tell Steve Bruce … but I suppose it doesn’t matter now. Martyn started out, he did great, went to the Welsh FA and then Sam Allardyce took him to England, and he stayed in there when Sam left.
“I’ve said to Dan that he can get on the fast-track, get his qualifications and go for it, because you never know what can happen if you become very good at what you do.”
The new coach comes in to replace the vacant slot left by the outgoing Steve Collis, who was with the Blues for just under 18 months.
“Steve was offered a new contract but I think overall, with travel and things like that, in terms of getting here on a daily basis, it was difficult.
“He did come in a lot with me, to be fair, from the Tickled Trout, but it does take its toll. Putting everything into his personal pot he decided it was time to take a look at something else.
“I thank him for all of his hard work, he’s a very good coach and he was excellent with our goalkeepers. The two young lads, Gabe Breeze and Scott Simons, have really come on, Paul Farman was excellent, and Magnus [Norman] was brilliant when he stepped in.
“We all wish Steve well.”
As confirmed at the club’s Thursday morning business breakfast, the search is also ongoing for a new stopper to provide stiff competition for current number one Magnus Norman.
“Absolutely 100 per cent we need another keeper,” he said. “I think it’s probably a year too soon for our two young keepers to think you could fancy them to do it, but you never know in football.
“If an opportunity arises out of something, whether it’s a phone call with news that makes things change, or an incident that comes up, you have to do certain things off the back of that. Who knows, Scott might make his debut, or it might be Gabe who makes his full debut.
“The last game I watched with Gabe playing was at St George’s, and he was excellent. He had to be because Bournemouth were much better than us and I think they would have scored 10 if he wasn’t as good as he was in that game.
“You never know but we definitely need, and we are actively seeking, another keeper. As I said the other day, we have actually spoken to two recently. I met one last week, but that didn’t happen.
“I don’t mind staying patient because it will always be about getting the right person into the mix.”
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