Returning Carlisle boss Paul Simpson made it clear at his first club press conference that he was more than happy with the current backroom staff arrangement, with only the keeper coach position (filled by Paul Gerrard) to be addressed.
“There’s no issue about that, it’s a very small staff, and I’ve been involved in the past where supporters have looked in and thought - they’ve been part of the situation that’s got us here, they should all be cleared out - but it isn’t easy just to go and get a clean group of staff to bring in,” he explained.
“These staff are here, they’re all competent at doing their jobs, and I’m happy to work with them. That was one of things I was asked when I was called, about what I thought of the staff situation, and I told them I was more than happy to work with them.
“I can accommodate and fit in with most people, and I’d like to think it’s going to work. I don’t see the need to bring anybody else in, but if I don’t see it working and if I don’t think they’re the right people then I’m in a position where I can go and say that it needs to be changed.
“We’re working on such a short scale of time, we have ten weeks to go, so that means it can’t be somebody who is already in a job.
“If you’re recruiting you’re going to take somebody who is already out of work, and there are some good people like that out there, but hopefully this group will show me they’ve got the energy and enthusiasm to do what’s needed.
“As coaches, we have to put on a show, paint the smile on, regardless of what the results have been, and we have to make sure we create an environment where the players are comfortable with working hard.”
We wondered if the knowledge gained on the squad by the current staff would prove to be an asset going forward.
“I think I’ll probably get more of that from the players, to be honest,” he replied. “That’s something I’ll be speaking to the players about to try and find out why we’re in this situation.
“The players are the ones that matter in all of this. The coaches will have their ideas, and I’ve obviously been speaking with Gavin a lot, just to get his input and to help me to get a grasp of things.
“I thought it was really interesting because from the night I got the call to come and help, I started to look at the group and the team that’s been picked over recent weeks, and I wrote down a shape and a team that I thought would be right for this weekend.
“When I came in and sat with Gav on Wednesday he told me that they’d actually been working on the same thing. There’s a bit of a crossover with our ideas, we had different personnel involved in different areas, but I don’t think we’re far away with our thinking.
“Hopefully it’s something that’ll work, and we’ve just got to try and get a bit of consistency so that we can free these lads up a little bit so that they can enjoy playing football, which they obviously haven’t been able to do lately.”
Always an option outside the transfer window is the acquisition of a free agent, should a suitable player hit the radar.
“I was told in a call on Tuesday that this is group you’ve got, this is what you’re going to work with, you can’t do anything about it, so what do you think,” he told us. “Again, if I didn’t want it, if I didn’t think we had a chance, I’d have said no.
“I actually asked the question have I missed something at the start of the conversation, because I’ve not seen that you’ve let the manager go, they said no, it’s going to be done tomorrow, face to face.
“I said if you do it properly, and speak face to face, then I’ll speak to you tomorrow and we’ll get something sorted out.
“It literally was you’re coming into a difficult situation, there’s going to be changes behind the scenes, the other staff are all going to stay, this is the squad you’re going to work with, what do you think?
“I’m taking it, I’m going to go with what we’ve got, and I think we have the players in there to get us the results.”
“People say never go back but people also say never say never,” he continued. “I don’t really care. I’m not bothered. It’s quite strange, all through my footballing life, and the way I’ve tried to bring the kids up, I’ve always said, don’t worry what anybody else thinks, do what you think’s the right thing to do.
“I felt this was the right thing to do. People can think what they like. People thought I should never have left. People thought I should have got sacked at Preston, some thought I shouldn’t.
“It doesn’t matter, if I’m not very good, I won’t be here, I’ll get the sack, it’s as simple as that. I’m here to do a job, I’m loving the opportunity.
“I really want to get started, really want to feel the Carlisle United supporters’ enthusiasm come back. I want to have a good time for ten and a half weeks, and I do owe Jacqui a holiday, because I’ve had to cancel a holiday to Lanzarote which is booked for next Thursday.
“But that’s life. She understands. She knows how crazy I am. And we’ll get our chance.”
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