Carlisle boss Paul Simpson confirmed that work is ongoing with still just over a month of the summer transfer window left to run as he looks to add numbers and depth to the squad.
“We’ve been working away at it, and as I sit here now I’d be very surprised if anything comes in before the Crawley game, but we are definitely trying,” he told us.
“I want to strengthen as soon as I can. My main focus is to make sure they’re in before 1 September, when the window closes, but if I can get them in earlier, then that’s even better.
“We are really short on numbers in terms of first-team players, and I don’t want to have to rely on throwing young players into it when it’s not quite right for them.
“They’ve got to earn the right to be involved and then earn the right to stay there.”
But despite the constant questions about new faces, the pre-season fixtures have demonstrated that there’s still competition for a starting place come 3pm.
“There is competition when everybody is fit,” he agreed. “We were missing Brennan Dickenson last weekend, but he’s back training again and hopefully he’ll be involved come Saturday.
“Omari being out, that’s a challenge for us, and we’ve had a couple of little niggles from the Morecambe game where we’re keeping our fingers crossed that they’re going to be involved.
“We’ve had other things that have happened over the week that will become clearer on Saturday, but I won’t be saying anything more about that at the moment.
“We have got issues and the top and bottom of it is, as we speak, we’re in a position where we may only have a group of 18 players for Saturday’s game.
“Now, I know we only need 18, but it doesn’t give me many selection headaches if we’ve just got that amount. I want to strengthen, I want to improve what we’ve got, and hopefully that will be the case.”
Still addressing the issue in a very matter of fact manner, he also confirmed that a measured approach will be maintained when it comes to making those new additions.
“There’s no point panicking, is there,” he insisted. “If I got the feeling that there was nobody doing any work, then I’d panic and probably get a stick out to start shifting things along.
“That’s not the case. There’s so much good work going on in the background and we’re doing everything we possibly can to try to strengthen the squad.
“We’ll continue to do that until the window closes, or until every single pound has been spent.
“At the moment it hasn’t been, but let me tell you, I’ve got no intention of saving money for anybody.
“I want to spend it because I want to give ourselves a fighting chance, firstly to win games of football, and also to give myself a fighting chance of staying as the manager of this great club.”
With the first game a matter of days away he spoke about the use of the loan market, with free agents also having been considered over the course of the last few weeks.
“That’s a big part of it, yes, those are areas to be looked at,” he said. “My ideal scenario is to get permanent signings, I’ve said that all along.
“I want them to be our players. I don’t want them to be just using us as a brief stepping stone. I want them to be our players, and to be committed to this football club.
“I want people who will start to understand what it means to be a Carlisle United player.
“That’s my priority, but what I would say is that we are trying to tap into the loan market as effectively as we can.
“I’ve got three at the moment, the maximum I can have in a match day squad is five, so I really don’t see the benefit of bringing more than five in because I want every player to be pushing to play.
“If I’ve got six loans then it’s fairly obvious one has to sit out every week, and that’s not an ideal situation to have.”
And on the free agents, who perhaps haven’t had the opportunity to train with a group through the summer, he commented: “That’s a massive part of it now.
“We’ve asked a couple of players over the last few weeks to come and train with us, so that we can see them and they can see us.
“If it works, brilliant, but if it doesn’t work at least they’re going to go away having had a couple of weeks of football and fitness in their legs.
“They’re refusing, and I don’t really get where that’s coming from. I don’t really understand that side of it at all.
“It maybe tells you a little bit more about the personality of the players we’re trying to bring in. It hasn’t happened, they haven’t come in, and we’ve just got to wait and see now.
“If I was to sign somebody this week who hasn’t been training anywhere, we’re probably starting to look at the middle to the end of August when they’re fit and ready to come into first-team football.
“That’s not ideal because I can guarantee that if I say to them I’ll only pay them when they’re fit, they won’t accept that.
“All we can do is deal with each player as they come along and we’ll see what happens.”
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