"It is very competitive and that is what you want isn't it during the summer months, decent games, competitive edge and get it on"

United media officer and first team kitman Andy Hall (AH) spoke to BBC Radio Cumbria's James Phillips (JP) this evening ahead of Carlisle's pre-season friendly away to Workington, Hall first talking about one of the new faces on show in the Carlisle line-up :  

 

AH

I think the one to watch will be the trialist (Jim McAlister) because he has been told to rove around as it were, cause a bit of a problem, show everybody what he can do, and I think he is the kind of player with a bit of experience who might be able to just do that. So, he is the one that has got the, I dare to say this one, the Francois Zoko role.

 

 

JP

He has got the Zoko role. I do like having read up on him that he is an advanced right-back or a left-winger, does that mean he doesn't fancy getting so far advanced that he is a right-winger or can he just play everywhere?

AH

I think he is one of these fellas who can turn his hands to anything, and that is what he has been doing with the clubs he has been at. I think that is why he has been recommended by Davie Irons to come down and see Greg (Abbott) and have a look if he can fit in the team.

 

 

JP

Davie Irons of course who is the former manager of Gretna, but casting his eye over him as well. Mike Kerr is also in there, he is another trialist you have got, what can you tell us at this early stage about him?

AH

Yeah, he is another one, he is actually due to come down to us last week but he had other things on the go as well so he didn't quite turn up in time for that one. But, he has joined us this week, he is certainly going to stay with us for the rest of the week and he is another one who has got a little bit of experience behind him. He has got things that he can do that we think might be a little bit different so Greg is more than happy to take a look at these guys.

 

 

JP

For our younger audience, he was a former Football Manager legend when he was at Falkirk I think it was right at the start of his career. He was one of these that you can pick up for a pittance and take into a world class player, maybe Carlisle probably hoping against hope that that will happen but might not?

AH

I tell you what, haven't we done that a few times with a few players over the course of the last few years?

 

 

JP

There have been one or two who have certainly turned out in these early trial matches. The second-half looks a bit harder to get your head around with the United team?

AH

David Symington is the interesting one there as well, he is another one who can be used all over the place, Brad Potts is very versatile, I didn't see the training session so I am not deliberately being disruptive or not giving you the information here, I am not entirely sure what the final decision was but it will be interesting to see what the gaffer has gone with.

 

 

JP

You are going to play 3-3-4 now aren't you and really fox us?

AH

Just go for five upfront.

 

 

JP

Could be very interesting. How has it been then with the new lads coming in? A couple depart, Harrison Blakey has gone and so too Ross Lindsay, a couple more come in, I presume we will see plenty of that sort of turnover over the coming weeks?

AH

We do, I think the manager has hinted at the fact that he does it all the way through the season, he has got trial players coming in and out all the time. During pre-season because they are playing in games that everybody comes to we tend to have to announce it, but during the season itself it is kept quiet because it does cause a little bit of interest. It can put pressure on the player, puts pressure on the club, and people start to delve into the background, what might he bring to the squad, are we going to sign him or are we not going to sign him.

I think Greg prefers to do that kind of thing under the radar but in pre-season you can't, we all accept that so we tend to announce them. It is a case of waiting to see if, as with the lads who went through the game the other night, they are here again because he thinks hang on a minute, we might have something here. He needs to keep looking at them, if they agree they stay on and we wait and see where we go from there.

 

 

JP

And those lads who have got through to the second game, that is Alessio Bugno, Jonathan Meades and Dale Hopson, they start to have more and more of a chance the longer they stay basically and they will be keen to keep working at that?

AH

We have seen that in the past as well haven't we, I think Francois is a prime example, he started off at Kendal and everybody went wow, look at him, and he stayed with us for a few weeks, signed a contract and the rest for him is history isn't it.

 

 

JP

Indeed, Workington Reds as well, we were just hearing from Tony Caig before, he was with us just a little while ago talking about his fondness of Workington Reds and working with Carlisle, but they are one of those clubs now who you have got a really good relationship with through players going inbetween the two clubs and also these friendlies which are a big help to both.

AH

It is fantastic, Mark Beck is a prime example, he is going to play upfront for us tonight, he came down here and really cut his teeth really well last season. When you talk to the backroom staff down here, not just the fact that he came here and did well in his football but they are all commenting on how nice a lad he was and how determined he was to fit in when he was here.

Again we have seen it over and over with the fact that players from Workington have come up to Carlisle, Aaran Taylor is with us doing exceptionally well during training at the moment, and players from Carlisle coming down here to get some good football experience under their belt under Darren (Edmondson) who really looks after them. He is honest with them as well, if they are doing well he tells them, if they are not then they are not involved, so it is a good barometer for us as well as for Darren.

 

 

JP

And just finally from your point of view, the organisational side of things, after the friendly away at Barrow on Saturday it is then off on the pre-season week isn't it, a little bit of a break away together, I am sure that has been interesting to sort out for you and the club?

AH

People say to you how has your eight weeks off been and it is like, what? It is so much to organise, so much to get ready, there are things to be booked, double-checked, treble-checked. I could bleat and cry for hours on the radio, I won't, there is just a lot to do but when it all comes together when you see them out on the pitch and hopefully pushing on next season it is all worth it.

 

 

JP

Well, we are, what now, 37 minutes from the game getting underway here on BBC Radio Cumbria Sport, Andy will be in the press box with us enjoying it hopefully, a good match between both sides and let's hope both can get good things out of it?

AH

It generally is and it is very competitive and that is what you want isn't it during the summer months, decent games, competitive edge and get it on.