YOUTH: It's been a decent start

United have won three of their opening four youth fixtures in what has been an encouraging start to their campaign, with last weekend’s victory at Preston capping off a good month of football.

Youth boss Mark Birch said: “It’s been a decent start for us but, and as you expect with young players, it’s also very up and down.

“We played really well in the opener against Walsall, and that gave everybody a lift. They went out there with a positive attitude and they put into practice many of the things we’d worked on.

“It’s never easy to go there, it’s a long way and an early start, so some of the lads are literally waking up as you pull into the dressing room area.

“We’ve managed some good results down there over the past few years so we tend to stick to the same departure time, same stop-off and same routine, and it worked for us again on this occasion.

“I have to be honest and say that the Port Vale game as the complete opposite. We looked sluggish and disjointed and we didn’t deserve to take anything from that one.

“That’s a reminder to the group as to why they need to find consistency in everything they do. We do accept that we have lads who are still getting to grips with full-time training, as well as the very packed education programme, and that can take time.

“They also have to get to grips with how under-18 football is played, because they do come up against players and teams with different capabilities. We do expect to see blips as learning curves as climbed, but we won’t ever be happy with inconsistency in work rate.

“It’s probably fair to say we didn’t get that against Port Vale, and that’s why we were so disappointed with it.”

“As we said about Walsall, a lot of what happens on the pitch is a product of the preparation,” he added. “When you play for Carlisle you have to get used to the fact that it means you have to travel.

“That comes down to preparing well as an individual all the way through the week, and we help as much as we can in the way we structure the work we do.

“It was another good outcome in Preston, and the work rate was phenomenal. We started brightly and we got our goals, and then we had to play in a different way when Alex Potts was sent off.

“Credit to all them, they defended as a team and they covered so much ground. We had to defend, but we also created more chances so it was a fully deserved three points against one of the fancied teams.”

With the first month now done, he confirmed that the challenge had been set for the players to carry the good habits into another busy period.

“We know why we lost against Port Vale, and we’ve told the players to learn from that,” he told us. “We didn’t apply ourselves, but they showed immediately that they could bounce back.

“Winning breeds confidence, it puts an extra spring in the step, and we want that to carry on. With Ryan Carr and Nic Bollado training with the first-team, and getting into the match day squads, that’s given all of them a boost as well.

“They’ve seen that young players at this club get rewarded for hard, and it should make them want it for themselves.

“When it comes to it, that’s what it’s all about. As much as we want to win games with our best players, it’s fantastic to see them catch the manager’s eye.

“At this level we’re judged on producing footballers so getting lads close to it at this stage is important. They get a feel for it, they see what’s required, and we’ve now got to find a way of getting these lads to the next level.

“We shouldn’t just be happy that they train with the seniors, or that they get a deal, we want them to be playing for Carlisle United regularly.”

Walsall – Boyd, Allan (Walsh 80), Fitzpatrick, Carr, Gordon, Potts, Hill (Swinburn 64), Nugent, Hardy, Bollado, Park (Hetherington 80). Sub – Barry.

Goals – Bollado (30), Nugent (36), Hardy (49)


Morecambe – Breeze, Potts, Bell, Hetherington (Fleming 87), O’Brien, Nugent, Chapman (Pope 57), Swinburn (Sharp 62), Hardy (Lamonby 84), Park, Hill. Sub – Barry.

Goals – Park (48, 49)


Port Vale – Boyd, Allan, Fitzpatrick, Hetherington, O’Brien, Potts, Hill (Chapman 63), Nugent, Hardy, Swinburn (Hopper 63), Park. Sub – Barry.

Goal – Hardy (52)

Bookings - Hardy, Hill, Fitzpatrick


Preston – Breeze, Potts, Bell, Carr, Nugent, O’Brien, Maddison (Allan 55), Bollado, Hardy, Park (Swinburn 80), Hetherington (Fitzpatrick 67). Subs – Barry, Sharp.

Goals – Bollado (14), Nugent (18)

Bookings – Potts (34, s/o 40)

The goals from the Preston away game are here:

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