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Club News

CLUB: Head of Performance appointed

Jake Simpson joins the club's backroom

12 September 2023

Club News

CLUB: Head of Performance appointed

Jake Simpson joins the club's backroom

12 September 2023

Carlisle United Football Club are delighted to announce the appointment of Jake Simpson to the first-team backroom staff as our Head of Performance.

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Simpson, 32, has been with Stockport County since February 2022 in a similar role, having worked with Hatters’ boss Dave Challinor at Hartlepool and Fylde as Head of Sports Science and Lead Strength & Conditioning Coach respectively.

Having come through the ranks with Blackburn Rovers he played for both Shrewsbury Town and Stockport, and on the non-league circuit with Hyde, Lancaster City, Celtic Nation and Workington.

He graduated with a degree in sports rehabilitation following his retirement, and also completed a Masters in Strength and Conditioning whilst working at Brunton Park as a fitness coach.

Manager Paul Simpson said: “Jake is coming in to oversee the running of the performance department.

“That will include him putting in place our physical loading and strength and conditioning plans as he also brings his valuable experience of working within football in these areas to our club, and to the fitness department specifically.

“We’re expanding the department, and I think people are aware that our current strength and conditioning coach Jamie Roper is moving on. We’ve advertised his position recently because Jamie will be leaving us shortly.

“That means we will also be appointing a new S&C coach, and that will be a shared role with Jake also looking after some of the requirements from within that area.

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“At home games we will see both of them involved, but we have a situation at the moment where we have players who don’t travel to away games with us, and we don’t have a member of staff who can actually take a supervised session with them.

“We’re trusting them to do their work at home, and that’s something I’ve wanted to improve for a while now because we need to make sure that everybody is on top of their fitness levels, even if they aren’t in the match day squad.

“Once we have both new coaches in the building one will stay behind and one will travel with the first team. That may be a shared responsibility but, until we get that replacement in, it’ll be Jake who does it.”

“I’m delighted that we’ve got him in,” he added. “He has all of the relevant and current qualifications, with the sports rehab knowledge meaning that he can have an input with Chris Brunskill on the medical side as well as specialising in the strength side of it.

“Once we'd finalised our promotion we looked at the structure we had in place, and at what had gone on last season in terms of fitness and our injury record, and I realised that we needed to improve things in that department.

“We had a conversation with the directors and with Nigel [Clibbens] and it was agreed that we could make this change. I spoke to Jake about it, I knew that I wanted him to come in and do the job because of the experience and solid reputation that he’s built up.

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“I’ve said this before, I do think you have to surround yourself with good, positive people and Jake comes into the bracket. I can honestly, hand on heart say that this isn’t happening just because he’s my son.

“It’s because he’s got the experience, skill sets and knowledge that will help us to take that department onwards and upwards. He’s been a player at different levels, he’s worked with the backroom staff at different clubs and he gets football.

“He understands how to relate the science to the actual game and I think that’s really important in this role. It speaks volumes that Stockport have been really good and really understanding about it in terms of his reasons for wanting to leave their club.

“They’ve insisted on him seeing out his three-month period, which is why we’ve only been able to make this change now, which is all perfectly fine.

"He’s been telling me that they’ve talked to him a lot to see if there was anything they could do to perhaps change his mind, but he’s responded by telling them that he’s made his decision and he wanted to do what was right for him at this stage of his career.

“I’m looking forward to getting him in and getting him working, and I know he’s thinking the same way. It’s been a long three months for him, but we have to really thank Stockport for not making it difficult and for the help they’ve given along the way.”

With the Carlisle boss having mentioned over 18-months ago that he wanted to make improvements across the board at the club, we wondered if this was part of that process.

“It definitely is,” he commented. “We have to keep doing that in every department if we want to move on and be successful.

“With what’s going to go on in this particular department I think it will make a big improvement. And it’s not just in this area, I’m even looking at our coaching staff and thinking that we possibly need another coach to come in and help us as well.

“That’s another conversation I’ll need to have because, again to use last weekend as an example, we had six players who stayed behind and we ended up asking our youth team coach Mark Birch to take a session at 9am on the Saturday morning for them.

“He did that and then had to get up to Creighton for the youth team game for his 12pm kick off. That just isn’t ideal at all. We need to have a system in place where we have staff who can do proper session with the players.

“I have to say, the attitude from the players to all of this is fantastic, and thankfully Birchy has agreed to help us out, but it means that he’s running round all over the place simply because he’s doing this for us as well as looking after his own job.

“We have to look at every aspect of what we do and, if we can tweak, change or improve things, I think we have to do it.

“That’s why the appointment of a head of performance will hopefully be a step towards making our players more robust and resilient as we look to not just deal with this level, but to get ourselves established within it as we drive on from here.”


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