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MANAGER: It's exciting to watch the group come together

Paul Simpson on keepers, recruitment and the skipper's role

24 June 2022

The addition of the biggest and friendliest giant you will ever meet [Tomas Holy] to the Carlisle ranks a fortnight ago took the keeper tally to three, as he joined first-year professionals Gabe Breeze and Scott Simons under coach Paul Gerrard’s tutelage.

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But manager Paul Simpson confirmed this week that there is room to add one more, if the situation proves to be right for the team and the club.

“We’ve got the two young keepers to back Tomas up, but in the ideal world I would like another goalkeeper in if I’m being honest,” he said. “That’s why we offered Magnus Norman a contract.

“I would like another one in, but I’ve got priorities in other areas as well, so it’s going to be a case of what’s left in the budget.

“That’s not me being disrespectful in terms of a number two goalkeeper, but my priority is to spend the money as wisely as we possibly can. If that means a goalkeeper has to take a little bit less, then that’s what it has to be.”

“I am getting excited watching the group come together,” he told us. “I have the squad up on the board in my office and I know there’s just one area that needs strengthening.

“I said to the rest of the staff that if we had to start the season on Saturday I’m really comfortable with the majority of it, there’s just one area that needs looking at.

“That’s what we’re working to try and do, and if we get that then I think we’ll be in a good place. If we don’t get it, we’ll work with what we’ve got, and we’ll make it as good as we possibly can.”

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A manager who is renowned for taking things in his stride, he did admit to slight feelings of frustration when questioned about the players he’d talked to who hadn’t committed to the club.

“The ones that don’t happen are always frustrating, but it’s part of the game,” he said. “It frustrates me because I know what this place can be like when we get our supporters backing us and I know what it’s like to live up here.

“Everybody looks at a map and sees how far north it is, and we know we aren’t going to be able to offer the most money in this league.

“We have to accept that, it’s part and parcel of it, it’s not a case of anybody being tight in the boardroom, it’s just the nature of the football club.

“We can only spend what we have, we just have to deal with that. People can say what they like about it, but that’s where we are.

“We can’t go and offer the most money, which usually means players want to take a bit more time to think about it and see if they can get better. That means there is an element of frustration, but it only lasts for about 20 minutes before you move on.

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“There’s no point worrying about what I can’t have, we’ve just got to deal with it and look at what other options we’ve got. There will be options and we will get players in, we’ve just got to hope we make more good choices than bad ones.”

But has location been a factor during the conversations he’s had?

“We are where we are in the country, and it has been a problem for three or four, but we can’t move Carlisle, this is where it is,” he said. “The transport network is so good now, it isn’t hard to get to Carlisle.

“My son came up for one of the games towards the end of the season from London and it’s a doddle, it’s nothing to worry about.

“It’s one of those things we just have to deal with, we’ll get players in, it’s just about getting the right ones.”

Part of that will be selecting the role of captain - a decision that is still be finalised.

“I’ve obviously thought about it but it will all depend on who else we bring in,” he commented. “Callum Guy was captain when I first came in but he got injured, then Morgan [Feeney] did a good job after him.

“We might bring somebody in who I think will be the leader for us, but I haven’t made that decision yet.

“What I want to see is a group of players who all want to lead each other. Last time I was here I felt we had that, I could reel off so many names who could have been captain in those days and I really want to try and get to that point here.

“I like what I’m seeing so far from the characters, but it’s early. There’s a long way to go before I need to worry about that.

“I haven’t even thought about who might be captain for the first game against Penrith, we might not bother and just send them out.

“We’ll see what happens, but Morgan and Callum haven’t done themselves any harm.”

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