Ticket sales were at just over six thousand at close of play on Thursday evening, with the biggest home crowd of the season targeted with still 36-hours of pre-match sales still to go.
And with prices both slashed and frozen – it’s £10 for adults, for example – fans are urged to buy early as we aim to have everybody in their place and ready for kick-off come 3pm on Saturday afternoon.
No stranger to a loud and vocal crowd, both as a manager and player, Paul Simpson spoke about what it’ll be like for the players as they run out to be greeted by an expectant stadium.
“It should be a brilliant atmosphere,” he agreed. “Some of the lads probably haven’t played in a crowd as big as we’ll get on Saturday.
“They’ve obviously all played in front of decent crowds but I hope they’re like me. When I was dreaming about being a footballer it was in front of big crowds, not in front of one man and his dog on the Sheepmount or Bitts Park.
“I used to dream about playing in front of a positive crowd who got right behind you and I hope the players rise to that on Saturday. That’s what gets your adrenaline going, when you come down the tunnel and you hear that noise, the butterflies start, but that’s good.
“If they’re able to channel that in the right way, I’m sure it will be a positive response for them. They need to make sure they come out and do their first thing right to build themselves into the game, build the atmosphere and the positivity, then everything should take care of itself after that.”
“In the game against Rochdale, where I admit we didn’t play well, we had 1-0 to hang onto, and the fans had that to hang onto with us,” he added.
“They stayed with us. Even in the second half, when Rochdale killed us in terms of possession and football, without looking like they were really going to score, I thought the fans were brilliant with how they backed us.
“Let’s hope the weather’s good. I’m not going to exaggerate and say let’s hope the sun will be shining, I don’t think that’ll happen in Carlisle, but let’s hope it’s a good day for us and we all walk away still feeling happy still.”
The Rochdale home game served as a reminder to him about the potential this club has, as he took to the technical area for the first time in just over 16 years.
“The big thing I was really pleased about was the way everybody got behind the players, even when there were mistakes,” he commented. “I was nervous, so the supporters must have been.
“They really stuck with us, they were absolutely brilliant on the night, even though it would have been really easy for them to turn and start grumbling. They didn’t, they stayed with it, and that’s what we need.
“We are going to get some hiccups and bumps in the road, but if the fans stick with us for the last 12 games then hopefully they’ve got something to look forward to come next season.
“The way they turn out doesn’t surprise me at all. I’ve seen it before, I’ve experienced it before. It is absolutely fantastic. It’s what players should respond to.
“We’ve got to do everything we can to make it a good day. If we’re going to get bigger numbers coming in, the best way to keep it that way is by performing and getting results.
“So what we don’t need to happen this weekend is we don’t perform and everybody goes away disappointed. The challenge for us now is to make sure we maintain our levels of working, commitment, football.
“In fact, not just maintain, let’s get the football levels even better, and then they’ll all come back for a second taste of it hopefully again on Tuesday night.”
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