"For the fans, wouldn't it be fantastic to go into Christmas Day in the top six, let's hope so"

United media officer and first team kitman Andy Hall (AH) spoke to BBC Radio Cumbria's James Phillips (JP) this afternoon ahead of Carlisle's League One match at home to Wycombe, Hall first talking about a change for the Blues at right-back : 

 

JP

The big news today, Frank Simek back in for the first time since the opening day of the season?

AH

Yeah, Chris Ribeiro felt his hamstring tighten a bit yesterday in training, so he doesn't want to take a risk. I don't think that is so much with his history of injuries in the background, I think he just genuinely didn't feel that if it was a harder ground that he wanted to push it too far with it. But, Frank Simek you know, we have been able to get a couple of friendly games for him over the last two weeks, we played Middlesbrough and Blackburn, very good games especially for Frank, and thankfully we got those arranged, because it is hopefully going to bear fruit today and Frank will be back for the first time since August.

 

 

JP

He doesn't seem like the sort of lad who will get downhearted, but after his track record with injuries throughout his career, to be out for this much of the season must have been hard on him, what has he been like about the place over the last few weeks and in the build-up to this game?

AH

Well, he has been chomping at the bit because he just wants to be playing football, that is why he came from Sheffield Wednesday over here. They had sort of forgotten about him in a way, they had put him onto the bench, he was fit, he was ready, Greg (Abbott) knew all about him and brought him here so he could play his football. Hopefully kicking on from today that is exactly what he will do because we all know what Frank is, we saw how he played last year. We were watching the DVD of the Wembley game and you forget just how good he was, because he is a right-back and nobody ever talks about right-backs, but Frank Simek is a very good player, and hopefully we will see that from today onwards.

 

 

JP

In terms of the game today then, one of those unique opportunities for Carlisle United to put in a nice professional performance against one of the sides that it is fair to say they are expected to do well against, rather than some of the teams where they go and surprise them when they are maybe not expected to do so well?

AH

It is that word expectancy isn't it, I think people are coming here today with where we are in the table, the football we have been playing, even against Charlton down in the FA Cup we weren't that bad, yes we went out of that competition but we played some good football. You need to keep it going, particularly through this festive period, because it is the teams that go into that January 7th game who are sat in the top seven, eight, nine or ten, and you start to think to yourself what is going to happen here?

It is games like this against Wycombe where you have to stamp your authority, it feels like again we haven't been at home for ages even though it was only a few weeks ago. You want to show the home fans the way that we have been playing as well, so there are a lot of things, a lot of reasons why Carlisle United want to win this one today.

 

 

JP

In terms of this match, I was getting together my research in the week, and I noted the fact, I thought I had got a great stat here that I would throw into commentary, that United have never won three league matches on the trot under Greg Abbott. But, it seems that every man and his dog, every other news outlet in the world, yourself on the website, everyone seems to have found that one. So, it maybe it wasn't as well hidden as I thought?

AH

It is quite a few seasons ago isn't it, I think we won six on the bounce in the league under John Ward when we had that unbelievable record breaking run at home, and to have to wait that long, is it coincidence? Is there something wrong? Well, that is what Greg has asked himself, we have asked him a million times, why do we not perform at home? We have started to do it, we have got to keep it going, and you are right, Wycombe Wanderers, they are where they are for a reason, we are where we are for a reason, let's get out there and show everybody.

 

 

JP

And I know that everyone wants to be professional and everyone wants to say the right things, players and managers so often seem to be doing that these days, and they always say they will take it one game at a time, don't get too excited, but perhaps in his excitement Adam Collin revealed in interview this week that after the victory at Scunthorpe everyone had rushed back into the changing room to see if they had made it into the top six. So, just because players and managers want to say the right things to not increase expectation too much, it doesn't mean they are not as excited as the fans are?

AH

We are only human, and every time you pick up another three points you know how massive it is, because we are at the right end of the table, and we are in amongst it because we deserve to be. People keep talking about the big five, will you ever break into it? I am not sure you ever will because they get five figure crowds every single week, and sometimes it is up to the 20,000s. We can't compete with that, but we can certainly find the players that are giving it a really good fist of doing exactly that for us.

All we can do is keep going because we have been ignored, this week we have had a lot of national media coverage and that tends to ring alarm bells because that means the producers around the country are starting to say 'hang on a minute, we haven't covered that lot, look where they are'. If they are doing that you can bet your life that the football managers around the country are doing that as well. They all want to beat you when you are top ten, they will all say this is a hard team, get out there, work hard, do your job properly and you will beat them, so you have to work that much harder yourself. So, it is not easy, but we are there and we want to stay there.

 

 

JP

And just finally, a couple of players, I am not sure how much you can tell us about this at this stage, but a couple of players whose loans are coming to an end fairly shortly, Liam Noble and Chris Ribeiro who is of course out injured today, any development on those two at this stage?

AH

I know that the manager is definitely holding talks but I wouldn't be presumptious enough to say anything before he does. I will let him get on with his job and I think he will tell us all when he is ready to tell us what is happening there.

 

 

JP

The best of luck today, let's hope it is into the play-offs and the first three victories on the trot in the league under Greg Abbott?

AH

For the fans, wouldn't it be fantastic to go into Christmas Day in the top six, let's hope so.