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MANAGER: A possibility we'll have one back

Paul Simpson on injuries and suspensions

27 October 2022

Club News

MANAGER: A possibility we'll have one back

Paul Simpson on injuries and suspensions

27 October 2022

Carlisle boss Paul Simpson has his fingers crossed that experienced defender Paul Huntington will be back and available for Saturday’s trip to Tranmere but, with the season as it’s been, he won’t be second-guessing just yet, with still two days to go before the game.

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“There’s a possibility that we’ll have one back at the weekend,” he told us. “It’s a bit early to say for definite.

“Hunts has done a bit of work with Ross Goodwin and Jamie Roper and we just need to see if there’s any reaction to that. We’ll see how he feels on Friday, I’m hopeful that he’ll be back, but I’m not counting my chickens just yet.

“He’s experienced enough to tell us how he feels and if there’s any doubt at all we won’t risk it. He knows his body and what’s right and what isn’t, so I’ll be guided by him as much as anyone.

“He wants to be playing, he wanted to be with us at Stockport, so I trust him to say it how it is. I don’t think there’ll be anybody else ready, so we’ve got what we’ve got.”

“I’ll actually be really surprised if there’s anybody else ready before the FA Cup game next week being really honest with you,” he added. “It has to be a case of seeing what we’ve got as each game comes.

“I tend to make my final decision on the team on a Friday morning, that’s when we look at our game preparation, and when we go to Tranmere we have to show a much better version of ourselves than we showed in the first half on Tuesday.


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“There was an improvement in the second half but still not to the level that we want or that we know we’re capable of.”

“Obviously we saw Jack Stretton and Tobi Sho-Silva again on Tuesday, and it’s good, vital, to have them back at this moment in time,” he continued. “It’s been tough for Tobi because normally I’d have wanted him to have a reserve game to get himself up to speed, because it’s different starting to coming on as a sub.

“I’ve said a lot that I don’t like players getting match fit by playing, but we’re finding that we’re having to take that route, even though we’re doing it carefully with Tobi, because of the situation we’re in.

“He’s probably back earlier than I would have wanted, and I’m not sure he’s quite at the stage where he can start. But it really is good to have him as an option and part of the group.

“We want players available and the reason Jack Stretton didn’t start is that he hadn’t had a full session going into the game. He’d been out with the physio to sprint and run and turn, and he was ok.

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“Again, when you’re talking needs must, we put him into the game based on the fact the way we were performing in that first 45 minutes wasn’t working. That was probably more minutes than I intended for him, but he’s come through it and he’s in contention for Saturday.”

As alluded to on Tuesday night, the number of players missing presents a real conundrum in terms of trying to find consistency in selection and shape.

“It’s a challenge, isn’t it,” he agreed. “It’s a difficult situation at the moment but some of it is our own doing. If you look at five yellows and a sending off for suspensions, that’s on us.

“It’s one of those things at the moment because before I came in and you asked that question about who was missing, I was thinking, do you know what, let’s not focus on what we haven’t got.

“Let’s not talk about the 11 we can’t use. Let’s concentrate on the ones we’ve got because we definitely have enough to go to Tranmere with.

“The big thing for us this weekend is that we don’t worry about injuries and suspensions, let’s just focus on what we’re going to do.”

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And expanding on the enforced lay-offs for Jordan Gibson and Ryan Edmondson, he said: “You have to accept that if you get five yellows in a short space of time like this then you deserve to be suspended.

“Sometimes, as with the red, you also have to accept it could have been avoided. Those players learn from that. Ryan knows my thoughts, and Jordan knows that in my opinion some of those yellows have been needless.

“Kicking a ball away, getting involved when you don’t need to, fouls in areas of the pitch when it isn’t necessary – you have to take it on the chin.

“Like I keep saying, whoever comes in or plays, I want all of them to be fully prepared. We’ve gone about it slightly differently when we reviewed the game this week because I asked the players to watch it back and then tell us what they thought.

“The message that’s come from that is that we have to get back to doing the basics. That’s about us working hard, competing, passing the football to each other and backing each other up.

“It sounds really simple but you don’t need a coaching course to understand that if you get the basics right you give yourselves a chance. That’s where our focus is.

“The nine players who are injured and the two suspended are of absolutely no interest to me leading up to Saturday. All I want to concern myself with is those who can be there to help us. Like I say, whoever is picked we have to find a solution and find a performance.”

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