Don't panic, urges Simmo

Last updated : 03 July 2004 By Al Woodcock
Mark Summerbell
Summerbell: Released this week
United boss Paul Simpson has adopted a 'don't panic' attitude to the pre-season after missing out on two potential new signings this week and releasing another player.

The 38-year-old player-boss is not fazed after making just one summer signing so far - Carlos Roca from Oldham Athletic. Strikers David McNiven and Kelvin Langmead will not be coming to Brunton Park and midfielder Mark Summerbell has been released, after suffering for much of the past year from a 'mystery' illness.

The Cumbrians return to training next week before starting their pre-season programme, the highlight of which is the Isle of Man Football Festival in which they take on Rushden & Diamonds, Bristol Rovers and an Isle of Man XI.

McNiven has joined Scottish First Division outfit Queen of the South whilst Langmead will be staying with Preston after a season's long loan deal fell through. Simpson has been linked this week with a move for the Scarborough forward Mark Quayle but insists: "I'm going to be patient."

"I have made it clear I want another striker and I am still talking to some players but at this moment I can't give them the money they want," he said. "I've decided against bringing back Kelvin as certain issues have made me think it's not the right move for the club at the moment, but I'm going to be patient and I remain confident I can still add a couple of players to the squad."

The Cumbrians only have three senior strikers on their books at present - Craig Farrell, Andy Preece and Kevin Henderson. Youngster Lee Hamilton has signed a professional contract for next season but is not likely to feature much in the first-team until he gains more experience in the reserves.

Meanwhile speculation has surrounded Summerbell's long-anticipated release after a season spent mostly on the sidelines. Manager Simpson has hinted at an illness but the player is not ready to reveal what has been keeping out of action. Chairman John Courtenay defended the ex-Boro's man right to privacy.

"Mark has an incurable illness which can be managed with medication but requires time to get sorted," revealed Courtenay on CUFC Online's messageboard yesterday.

The news comes just a day after it was revealed that ex-United defender Lee Maddison has a form of lymphatic cancer and will be undergoing chemotherapy. Maddison is currently with Gretna and their chairman Brooks Mileson has vowed to support Maddison in whatever way he can.

Picture from News & Star