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MANAGER: It'll be a 45/45 split

Paul Simpson looks ahead to Friday's first game

28 June 2022

United’s first pre-season friendly is the annual hop to Frenchfield Park to play Penrith in front of what is generally a very good crowd.

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“We’ll play two teams in either half for the Penrith game and it will probably be the same for the Kendal game on the Wednesday,” manager Paul Simpson explained. “We might do 60/30 for the Workington game, and the training game we have the following week will be 60/30 again.

“We’re then starting to build them up towards 90 minutes. They have to get to the point where they can catch their second wind and push through the stage where your chest is burning and your legs are starting to go.

“We’ll build up towards that, and I’d like to think they’ll get one or two 90 minutes before the end with a couple of the training games we’ve got planned.”

And in terms of numbers who will feature, he said: “I don’t have a number of players in mind that I’d like in the squad.

“We’ve got a group of younger players who supplement what we’ve got, I don’t particularly think of them as first-team players, but they’re on the periphery.

“They’ll be involved with us during pre-season, but the likelihood is they’ll come into it as and when we need them.

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"I want a squad that’s good enough to deal with the first half of the season, because once we get through this transfer window this is what we’ve got, and I want a strong enough squad.

“I don’t feel we’re there at the moment, so that’s what we’ve got to do. I suppose what I would say is that I’ve got no intentions of saving any of the budget, I want to spend every penny of it - but I want to spend it as well as we possibly can.”

Two appearances for Jack Ellis at the end of last season and a run of games for Sam Fishburn suggests that the door is open, whatever the age of the player.

“That’s the challenge, and that’s why they’re in training with us,” he agreed. It’s up to them to show us they should be involved.

“People are asking about taking lads out on loan and I’ve said no, they’re all in with me. If they show me they deserve to start the season they’ll be involved with us.

“There’s a lot of them. Max [Kilsby] is in here, Jack’s done well, as has Fish. Lewi Bell is around it again now, so it’s up to them to show us what they can do.

“Gabe and Scott, our two young keepers, they could find themselves being the number two goalkeepers, so it’s up to them to show me what they can do.

“I want whoever is involved to push us on. I want to just keep building and I want to make things better.

“I certainly don’t want to be in a position like we were last season, that’s for sure, and if we get the right sort of players and if we have the right mentality, and we get all the backing we want from everybody, I think we’ve got a real good chance of being better than we were last season.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Paul Simpson on iFollow United now.

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