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Interviews

MANAGER: We're looking forward to getting going again

Paul Simpson ahead of tonight's game at Mansfield

13 September 2022

Interviews

MANAGER: We're looking forward to getting going again

Paul Simpson ahead of tonight's game at Mansfield

13 September 2022

United head to the One Call Stadium tonight for what is always a tough game against a Mansfield side that’s fancied to do well in League Two this season.

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Manager Paul Simpson said: “We’re looking forward to it. We know it’s going to be a tough game, they’ve got a good record at home so it will be difficult.

“The players have trained over the weekend, instead of having the match on Saturday we had a training session where we did an in-house 11 v 11.

“The players will be up to speed and we’re looking forward to getting going again.”

“They’re a good side, Nigel Clough has put a good squad together, but we’ve got some threats as well,” he added. “My big thing is that we try and focus as much on ourselves as we can, but we’ll go into the game knowing what the threats of Mansfield are and where they can cause us problems.

“They’ve got a good focal point as a striker in Akins and midfield players with legs who can get forward to join in.

“They’ve got a decent defensive record as well, so all in all it’s a tough game, but these are the games we want to go into and try to put a marker down and show what we’re all about.

“I think I’ve said before that the start of the season has been just ok. I would have liked it to have been better, but it could have been a lot worse.

“We’re sitting in a decent position an because the league is so tight, any victory can jump you up a few places in the table. We’ve just got to make sure we do everything right and hope the result follows.”

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It’s another game that gives an opportunity for the squad to lay down a marker.

“It’s probably our biggest challenge so far this season,” he commented. “I’m really looking forward to seeing how we cope with it.

“They’ve got an incredible record stretching back to October last year, somebody told me they’ve won 16 out of 18 at home. That’s not a bad record to have.

“My view is records are there to be broken. We’ll go there confident, with a team that I think is good enough to go and get a victory, and it’s up to us to perform on the night. 

“And they have a great manager in Nigel Clough. I played in the England under-21s with him, and had a game against Yugoslavia at Peterborough. I haven’t come across him a hell of a lot in terms of games, when he was at Burton and I was here first-time round, we went up against each other a few times.

“I followed him into Derby County when he left the club and I went in with Steve McClaren. He’s a Derby lad, I know Nigel quite well. He's built a really good squad and it’s something he does well.

“I thought he built a good squad and a good football club at Burton, myself and Steve were really fortunate to follow him and Andy Garner to Derby because he’d assembled a good squad there, and I think he’s assembled a really good squad at Mansfield.

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“They were probably a little bit unfortunate not to get over the line and get promotion last season, they’ll be hoping to do it this year. It’s a great test for us. I’m looking forward to going, meeting him and Andy Garner, because they’re two really good people, and hopefully we can get the right result.” 

The last time the teams met, of course, was in April, when the points went the way of the Cumbrians.

“They certainly haven’t changed in the way they play,” he said. “There hasn’t been a massive amount of changes in personnel, just a few.

“That was a really close game and we were probably on the receiving end of a refereeing decision where it’s probably fair to say they scored and it didn’t get given.

“I’d like to think we’ll get that little bit of luck again in this one. You need to have that luck. When you’re coming up against good sides you have to be lucky.

“We’ve got to work hard, compete, be able to play in the right areas, and we also need a bit of luck and hopefully we’ll come away with a result.”

In one of those little quirks, the last time a Carlisle side won at Field Mill was in April 2004, when a certain Mr Simpson was in charge.

“I love it as a little football ground, it’s a really good place to go,” he told us. “I’m looking forward to it. I think if we can go and perform, it will be a really good game of football.

“The way Nigel has his teams playing, they are very forward-thinking, a little bit off the cuff in how they play.

“You can’t really identify a structure, you can just identify they’ve got good players who know the game.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re able to deal with it and hopefully we can make it a good night. If that is the last time Carlisle won there, let’s hope that changes as well.” 


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