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Club News

MANAGER: Always one to look forward to

Paul Simpson ahead of the Bradford game

20 January 2023

Club News

MANAGER: Always one to look forward to

Paul Simpson ahead of the Bradford game

20 January 2023

Both teams will go into the game on Saturday looking to consolidate and improve on their league positions, with the business end of the season now looming large.

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For Carlisle United they’ve already equalled the same number of league goals as they managed across the whole of last season (39) and, as a slight aside, the win against Newport took them to that ‘first target’ points tally (42) that manager Paul Simpson set at the start of the campaign.

And it’s worth pointing out that, having done that, there are still 21 games to go.

“I don’t know if I’d say that I’ve reassessed now that we’ve got there, because I’m constantly looking at things anyway,” the gaffer told us. “You have to set little targets, and the 42 points was my first one.

“I didn’t even set that for the players, it was just something I thought about. We talked about it as a group of staff because when you look at months and periods of games, then the season as a whole, it was always my thought to get to 42 points as soon as we could.

“We’re there now, and whether or not it’s enough to stay up, I’ve no idea. What I would say is that I’m also looking at other aspects of what we do and I still want to get three consecutive wins, which we haven’t managed to do yet this season.

“I do think you have to set little goals, there’s no point in me saying that between now and the end of the season I want to pick up ‘X’ number of points, because that’s too far ahead.

“We have to do it bit by bit, and it isn’t that old cliché of take each game as it comes, but really that’s almost what you have to do.

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“We have to deal with Bradford first, and if we do that properly we’ll go into Tuesday night full of confidence and belief, and ready to go and deal with that one as well.”

On the Saturday trip to Bradford, he commented: “They’re in a good position, as we are, so they want the points for their reasons.

“Mark Hughes has made changes, a few players have left and others have been added, and I’ve seen today that they’ve just signed Adam Clayton.

“Come Saturday afternoon it could be a totally different team to the one we saw a few weeks ago. This is why a lot of your thinking has to be based on what we want to do.

“We have an idea of what Bradford will do, and as I’ve been looking at the games I’ve seen that the pitch looks tricky, I don’t know what’s happened to it to cause that. We’ve just got to deal with it.

“It might affect the way they’ve wanted to do things, we don’t know. If we go there and we’re right we’ll give ourselves a chance.

“It’s always a brilliant game to look forward to because of the size of their home crowd, I’m expecting them to get around 20,000, and we’ll have a large and brilliant number as well. We have to make sure we get out there and show a really good version of ourselves.”

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“That has to be our challenge, to start the game well,” he added. “We can’t afford to give them any kind of a lift.

“We have to be on the front foot and we have to be aggressive in the right way, and be prepared to take the game to them.

“We need to deal with the threats they have and if we can make the crowd nervous I know for a fact that our fans will respond positively for us.

“I have no doubt about that at all because they’ve been behind us everywhere we’ve been. We need to give them a performance that gets them going once again.”

The weekend fixture marks the start of a hectic run of games.

“It’s really important and I do think that this next set of games, up until the Harrogate home game, will give us a really good idea of where we can go,” he told us.

“We need our fans to come and back us through it, home and away, because they’re all really important. If we can come out of this run with a good points total we’ll be in a good position to keep pushing on.”


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