" We were relieved to make the two break-throughs this week because we currently have three or four things on the move at any particular time and it's nice when two of them come to fruition. In the case of Liam Atkin we have taken over his contract and he's staying with us until the end of the season, that means that the manager gets a chance to see him and he gets a chance to see us. Whether it goes on beyond that is entirely up to Neil McDonald and the player himself. In the case of Joe Garner he has come up to us until the end of May. We have been looking at Joe Garner for some considerable time, he's a young guy, he's almost 19, I think he has been with the England under-19 squad something in the region of 15 times and he's a bit of a scorer.
" Deals in this window and the last one have been quite hard to tie up, it's quite difficult because the process is quite lengthy. There are about four stages to the process, first of all the scout, the manager and the coaching staff decide on who they want. Then Fred Story has the purse strings and we get together and they then tell us how much they think the player is worth if we've got to go into the transfer market. I then try and do a deal with the opposite Chief Executive and when we get past that stage we then face either the player or his agent and we then might get no further.
" We missed out in the last window on an international who tied a deal up with the club, the fee was all agreed but we couldn't get the player to talk to us at all, he didn't want to come to Carlisle. Later on the same evening their club accepted exactly the same offer from a Championship club and the player went there the next morning and signed for them. As recently as a week ago, last Friday night about 7.30pm we had another bid for a Championship player fully accepted and by the time we'd got to Monday morning and had no movement the player then made it very clear that, again, he didn't want to move to Carlisle. He's subsequently moved to another League One club this week.
" We are working hard behind the scenes and it has nothing to do with not having the availability of money, it has nothing to do with wages, it has to do with where a player feels comfortable. In some cases a player will want to play in a higher league so they will want to go to the Championship, in other cases they want to play in the south of England where they are nearer to their home and nearer to their family. It's extremely frustrating because we have to go through the first two or three phases and processes first before we can get to the player. Then when you get to the player or his agent and he simply says that he really doesn't want to come to Carlisle then the whole thing breaks down. We've probably spent two, three or four weeks doing the work before that point in time. "
" There is no limit on transfer fees or wages, if the manager has indicated that there is an amount and we are quite happy with that amount then we don't have a limit on the transfer fee at all. We would go to the level that the manager and coaching staff agree is what that player is worth on the market. In terms of wages there is a wage-type policy around the club but that really is run by the manager and he needs to keep a balance within his squad. Again there is no absolute limit but he tries to keep a balance within his squad to make a good team squad.
" There are probably two, three or four other irons moving around, but they are generally in the fire and it takes two to make a bargain at the end of the day. We just keep plugging away and I think the nice thing about it is, and the positive thing is, that we've got until the 31st of January and it's now the 19th and we're plugging away. We've got two youngsters in now, obviously it has given us that ten-day window to ensure we can tie things up.
" You can bring players in after the window on an emergency loan and you get a maximum of 93 days. It's not the best system because you can't do it until a week into February and then when you do do it you end up in a Paul Thirlwell situation where we took him for 93 days and lost him from the middle of December onwards. If you do that too quickly after January then you lose the player running into the final run-in of the season, or alternatively the play-offs, so we've got be very, very careful using the loan system as well.
" We're not allowed to speak to any targets in the early stages, we have to agree at club level first. Then once the club has agreed a fee, then we do that verbally, then I put it in writing, then they accept it and then they will tell the player or his agent to get in touch with us. So we can't technically get in touch with the player until the clubs have all agreed. With the other three or four irons in the fire we're at the stage where club to club are talking. "