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MANAGER: We have to make it tough for everyone

Paul Simpson on the Saturday game against Rochdale

2 September 2022

Club News

MANAGER: We have to make it tough for everyone

Paul Simpson on the Saturday game against Rochdale

2 September 2022

Rochdale may come to Carlisle on Saturday without a win from their first month of action, but with new manager Jim Bentley at the helm he’s certain to be looking for a positive return from his first league match in charge.

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“Jim’s a good man, I’m glad he’s back in it,” Paul Simpson said. “He knows this league well. I’ve had a couple of conversations with him because he was with my son Jake at Fylde.

“He’s a really top bloke and I’m pleased to see him back in football. He’s got a tough job on, but I’ve watched a few of their games and they don’t strike me as a team who are going to finish bottom of the league.

“They look like they’re in a little bit of a false position and I don’t think the table reflects where teams are until 10 or 12 games in. They’ve still got a few games to try and change that, but we want to make sure we keep going up the table and keep being positive.”

“He’s built good teams at Morecambe, he went into Fylde and did ok there,” he added. “He’s had some health issues of his own which thankfully he’s got through and is ok. 

“Not that Rochdale will care what my opinion is, but I think he’s a really good appointment. He came in for the game on Tuesday at Accrington, changed the shape from what they’d been doing, scored three goals and were maybe a bit unfortunate to have conceded.

“It was in the 90-odd minute with a goal which was like a comedy of errors, it goes to show when things are not going your way these things go against you.

“I think it’ll be a tough game. The way Jim prepares his teams and gets them up for games, it’s a likeness to how he was as a player, which was a very uncompromising defender, difficult to play against. That’s what we’ll probably face against Rochdale this weekend.”

Match Previews


1 September 2022

“They’ve got players who have played at a higher level and who can perform at a better level than they have been doing so far,” he added. “We’ve just got to focus on what we can do and make sure we’re still positive and working hard to give our supporters something to hang on to.

“Hopefully we can go and get goals to give us the result. I thought they were a decent football team last season and I think they’ve made some good signings, some experienced signings, but for whatever reason it hasn’t worked for them just yet.

“It’s still very early. Maybe in a few more games the league table might look a bit different. The truth is I only really bother about what we are and making sure we’re doing our stuff properly, making sure we’re preparing right for games and pushing forward.

“The thing you have to remember when a team goes on a long run of defeats, they’re always one game closer to their first win.

“I’m disappointed a manager loses his job, disappointed they’ve done it before our game because you know they’re going to get a bit of a reaction. In terms of our preparation, it’s really difficult to know exactly what they will do.

“They’ve played with a back three in all the time with Robbie this season, then changed to go with a 4-2-3-1 the other night at Accrington. We’re expecting them to go with that shape but we really don’t know.

“I think this is where the value comes in of us talking about us doing the bulk of the preparation based on what we do. If we’re right and we have our shape right and our style right, we should be ok regardless of what they do.” 

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The parting of the ways with Robbie Stockdale was the first managerial casualty of the season, with the Carlisle boss accepting of the fact that the risk comes with the territory.

“I don’t know what everybody else thinks but I just accept the fact that I’m going to get the sack one day,” he said. “I’m sure Robbie went into it knowing that there’s that precarious side to it, the same as Scott Parker this week as well.

“I always say I didn’t expect it, but then nothing surprises me in football anymore. You accept it’s the nature of the job, you’ve just got to do everything you possibly can to make it happen further down the line than it has for those fellas this season.

“I’m not saying it’s ok, but it’s unfortunately part and parcel of our job. You’ve just got to try and do things right, make as many decisions as you possibly can right, hope you get some luck along the way, and just try and stay in it as long as you can.

“I know I’m going to get the sack one day, I don’t lose sleep over it, I do believe I’m trying to do what I think is right.

“I think I’m really fortunate that I’m at a club that trusts me and trusts the decisions I’m making. I just hope that trust stays for a long time and I see the job through to get to the medium and long-term plan I want for the place.”

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Having worked hard to see Gillingham off last week, success for the Blues this weekend would make it back-to-back victories at Brunton Park.

“We’ve got to make it really difficult for teams to come,” he said. “We know how difficult some of our journeys are so we’ve got to make it horrible for teams to come here.

“Rochdale isn’t a long trip but we have to make it tough for everyone. We can only do that with our performances because that will make it difficult for the opposition and lift our fans, which makes it even trickier.

“Last weekend Neil Harris made a point of saying how much the crowd affected our start to the second half. Hopefully we don’t have to get them grumbling at half time then turn it around, hopefully they can be positive and we can use it to lift our performance.”

“I was really pleased with the crowd on Tuesday, over 3,000 in the Papa Johns is a brilliant crowd and I hope they’re starting to realise it’s not a duff competition, it’s actually a really good competition,” he added. “It’s a great opportunity for our supporters to see top young players coming through and for us to test ourselves against really good technical footballers.

“The pace they attack with, they’re so quick and it is another level. It’s good for us to see it and test ourselves. I think the fans turned up in their numbers because they’re starting to realise it’s maybe not as bad as people want to make out.

“It’s a good competition and it’s a really good opportunity to get to Wembley, which is no bad thing. It’s a good day out and the club have the chance to make money.

“We haven’t done ourselves any favours with our first game, but I still think it was a hell of a game of football. If you were a neutral watching it I think you’d be impressed. I was impressed and so were their staff.

“I have to be clear, I don’t blame the fans for any sort of nervousness. Players have to make sure they perform with a bit of freedom that expresses what they’re all about and gives fans something to cling onto.

“Our mindset must be to come into games and lift the supporters. If we’re really fortunate that we’re not great and the supporters lift us, that’s great. Let’s all, starting with us as the footballers and coaches, give the fans something to be positive about.

“If we can do that, we’ll all have a really good Saturday afternoon. The numbers we’re getting are brilliant. Last weekend you get over 5,000, scorching hot day, bank holiday weekend, there’s every single crisis in the world going on with financial costs, energy cap that doesn’t seem to be capped, it keeps going up all the time.

“There are a lot of reasons why people don’t come but our supporters are coming in their numbers. Over 3,000 on Tuesday as well which is brilliant. Hopefully we can keep doing stuff that makes them want to come back.”

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