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MANAGER: Selection problems are what you want

Paul Simpson on a squad working hard for the shirt

22 July 2022

A series of good summer performances have thrown up an interesting dilemma for Carlisle boss Paul Simpson who, having settled on an outline style of play, now has to put bums to seats, so to speak, in terms of the starting eleven for the visit of Crawley Town at the end of the month.

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“Selection problems are what you want as a manager,” he said. “I want even more of that. I want more bodies in to help us, to make the squad even stronger.

“I’m pleased with what I’m seeing so far but I’m just not going to get carried away. I’ll keep my feet on the ground and I will repeat that our first target is to still be in this league at the end of the season.

“That’s always the first target. The sooner we do that the better, and at that point we’ll readdress it and see where we go from there.”

“Looking at having things set in mind for Crawley, I’m very close, but obviously things can change,” he continued. “There are players fighting to start and it’s a nice position to be in.

“Even though I’ve probably only got 16 or 17 senior players, outfield players, it’s nice that they’re all pushing to want to be involved. 

“We’re starting to see more of how we’re going to go about it as well. The defensive shape is what we’ve tried to do from coming in at the end of last season.

“We were talking amongst staff in a meeting and I said to them that this is where I want to go with it, but please tell me if you think we should change it. I need to know that.

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“We all basically agreed that for now it’s the right shape for us. It may be somewhere further down the line that we have to look at it and think we might be better with a back four.

“We might be losing out in other areas of the pitch, because we’ve got a five, and it’s something we’ll just address and might have to just adapt a little bit as we go along.

“I have it set in my mind at the moment that it’s a back three with two wing-backs, and a front five in front of that which can be fairly fluid and can be adapted depending on what the opposition are going to do.”

As for the captain’s armband, he told us: “There’s no guarantee that Callum’s going to start the season, so that hasn’t been finalised yet.

“I think him and Morgan Feeney have both done really well, but I’m not overly bothered about who gets the captain role.

“I don’t think it’s a massive thing. I want everybody to talk. I’ve been delighted with Ben Barclay as a new player, he’s a talker, an organiser. Edmo’s the same.

“I think once you start getting one or two more who are speaking, they all start to come to the party. It doesn’t bother me who’s got the armband.”

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