"We are a decent little footballing side up here, there are a lot of good things going 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 at home to St Mirren, Hall first talking about the Blues upping their quality of opposition from previous matches : 

 

JP

Stilll one or two players in there hoping for contracts and still stuff to prove, and the standard of opposition really comes up with last season's eighth placed Scottish Premier League side here?

AH

SPL side, I think the gaffer (Greg Abbott) does it the same way every season, he likes to stage it so that the opposition go up a notch every time that we play. That is no disrespect to anybody that we have played previously because it is all about getting fit, even this game is all about getting sharpness, fitness, everything that goes with being at the top of your game when you are ready for August the 11th and Accrington Stanley.

So, tonight I think he is using an opportunity, there are maybe a couple of surprises in there with selections and things like that, I am sure the gaffer will explain why he has done what he has done later. But, it is an opportunity to look at a couple of players who will probably get tested a little bit more when you have got players of the likes of Lewis Guy coming at you on either flank or wherever he is going to play tonight for St Mirren. So, it is a going to be a little bit more difficult than what we have seen previously.

 

 

JP

And there might be one or two thinking well, hang on, you have got trialists on the bench, why not have them in the first team, but there is a point where it has to start being about your squad doesn't it and not just the trialists earning a contract, and there is still (Alessio) Bugno in there in terms of somebody in there who Greg Abbott wants to see more of?

AH

He has had these lads for three weeks you know as well, it is longer than you would expect to find trialists staying with you, but we did it with Francois and a couple of others a couple of seasons ago, and you find that on the back of it he is able to really consider it. If they are happy to stay and if the gaffer is happy to have them here then it is the best way to do it, he sees them in training twice a day every day, and he has seen them in three or four matches that the lads have played in.

So, he is starting to form an opinion now and there is never a guarantee for the trialists, they are fully aware of that, but the manger is able to make a really considered decision when he comes to it, whether that is tonight or next week with the lads that he has got in his side who are here on trial.

 

 

JP

Now Greg has already mentioned that a couple of players have picked up little knocks, Rory Loy has just had a bit of a setback and also Josh Todd has had a rather unfortunate injury which keeps him out at a time when he would like to be impressing. We know about Jon-Paul McGovern's situation as well, but Danny Cadamarteri, any reason he is not involved tonight?

AH

I think it is a case for the manager that he just wants to make sure that he is getting everybody through at the peak of their fitness, so if there is any question at all with any of the players that they might have, not so much done too much, but if there is something that they might be complaining about, then he might not use them for that reason or it might just be simply the case that he wants to look at certain players against a certain team tonight and that is the opportunity to do it.

He will get another chance with Middlesbrough next week where again you might see some players missing and you will think well why isn't he there? I don't think we can read too much into it in pre-season, it is really a chance for the manager to assess absolutely everything, whether it is a trialist or a player on contract.

 

 

JP

Despite the myriad of BBC platforms that one can watch the Olympics in, it is an incredible different selection of things and range where you can watch the Olympics, one thing we can't do here this evening is watch the opening ceremony because we are watching and bringing to the listeners the commentary tonight. But, Carlisle United have still got into the spirit of it?

AH

Dave Mitchell, he took us all by surprise, we got back from the pre-season training camp this afternoon and the first thing that everybody said was that we had got to see the pitch, and you think well what else has he done, what could he do that he didn't do over the last two or three seasons?

He has come up trumps tonight, there are a few puns about going round in circles out there, but if people are coming down tonight then have a look at that because it is a wonderful piece of work. It just shows you again what a groundsman who is on the top of his game can do with a pitch that is really well looked after and in tip top condition.

 

 

JP

Not to be on a negative but I couldn't believe he didn't get the overall groundsman of the year considering the size of his team ie. him, and then the size of the team at other grounds ie. Middlesbrough?

AH

I know, yeah, I mean that is something that there are lots of things that happen up here in the north-west, the deep north-west, that go by the wayside. Because, we just don't seem to get noticed, we have talked to SKY, we have had a go at SKY a number of times, why don't we get televised? Because, we are a decent little footballing side up here, there are a lot of good things going on. But, hey, we can be bitter and twisted or we can just celebrate the fact that in a lot of areas we are doing the best we can.