John Ward - Radio Cumbria Interview

Last updated : 15 January 2008 By Thetashkentterror

John Ward
United boss John Ward spoke to BBC Radio Cumbria's James Phillips on Tuesday evening, Ward giving a full update on the current transfer window activity at Brunton Park as well as looking ahead to Saturday's home game against Crewe Alexandra :

" I think if I said he was one for the future that would probably just upset him a little bit. Evan (Horwood) would like to think very much that he can be involved in our first-team this year and now I guess. He is going to put pressure on other people, we're not too disappointed in how we've been at the moment. Although we've had three defeats away from home we've been in decent form throughout the season and it is something that Evan has got to prove to me and other people that he can get in this side. There is potentially a very, very good player here.

" He is coming on a free transfer and there is a sell-on involved but that is between us and Sheffield United. Again I think we've got a player for the future, one that is going to get better for the future. We've already heard that he can score goals, he can get forward, he's a good defender, there is a lot in this young man to come out and he will certainly be tested at League One. We think that is a tough level for him to come into but we are very confident that he'll come through that.

" We don't want it to be a short-term policy of six months, that wouldn't attract the young fella as he was playing regularly at Gretna. We've got to make ourselves an attractive proposition which I think we have, we're in a good position in our league. There is a possibility of things getting better for us and Evan wants to part of that. He's come in this morning and took part in training, signed his contract and everything has gone very, very smoothly.

" We also think that we have got a decent young man and that is important to me because our dressing-room is very strong at the moment. It would be easy to spoil that with the wrong person in but we certainly haven't done that, he'll fit in everywhere for us. We've seen him six times since I've been at the club and members of my close staff have been to see him as well as myself. "

" We've got very, very strong reports on him, we've seen him as a left-back in a back four, we've seen him as a wing-back in a three centre-back situation and we've seen him get forward. We know that he can play higher up the pitch as well so there is a lot to come from this young fella. I don't want to paint him up too high, we believe that he's got a lot to learn but we certainly think there is a lot to come and we're looking forward to trying to develop that with him.

" We've highlighted other positions as more priority but I think our fans would be disappointed if we didn't go for good players when they are available so that's why Evan has come in, we found that availability and we've done it. In terms of Cleveland Taylor we've put pretty much a final bid in this morning to Scunthorpe United to see what they say to that, so I'm awaiting their response and their reply.

" In terms of the wide right position I've also spoken to Alan Irvine today at Preston North End regarding Joe Anyinsah and they are still of the mind at the moment that they want to see a bit more of him. Those two things are ongoing and, again, like a lot of things we just have to see how they develop, but they are in other people's decision making now rather than ourselves.

" We think it is that area which needs filling in with a good player. We're not just going anywhere and everywhere, we're looking at closing in on targets that we feel can do the job. Everyone knows about Joe so I don't have to go on about him, we'd like to see him back if we could but Cleveland had 41 starts in Scunthorpe United's team last year that got themselves into the Championship. He absolutely knows this level and he's been involved on their bench and in their side this season as well.

" They have bought a couple of players in that have made life a bit more difficult for him at the Championship level. For me though the young man Taylor has got it all in his locker that he can do it at this level and help us to get where we would like to go. We've had a really good go at trying to get one of these two young fellas into the football club and the decisions now are really for other people to make. "

" I've spoken to Roy (Sandeman) this afternoon and we're not going to pursue that enquiry. We've given him a couple of games and we've got to compare him, Roy is 20 and we've got to compare him with Luke Joyce who we feel has got a good future at the football club. Obviously we are pretty strong in central midfield but it was worth having a look at, we had two good games with Roy and we've wished him all the best but we're not going to pursue that.

" I think at the moment the other midfielders are a little bit ahead of him (Joyce), when I came into the club we had (Marc) Bridge-Wilkinson and (Chris) Lumsdon in midfield and they have done extremely well for the club. We've tried Paul Thirlwell to get fit and get him back in but he's picked up an injury, but we all know that there is a good player in Paul Thirlwell. So Luke has just had to wait his period of time to get in but when he came in against Port Vale he made an instant impact and had an excellent half a game in there.

" Again I think there is another very good player there, Luke at 20, I'm very much aware actually last year that he played a number of games and the staff that I am working with now were very complimentary of those performances of Luke's. I've seen him work day-in and day-out and I think that again there is another good young player there. We've been pretty OK in midfield though with Bridge-Wilkinson and Lumsdon and I've settled with those two as a partnership, so he's got a bit to do to break in there but he looks ready for me when he is.

" We haven't changed our bid for Richard (Keogh), we've expressed our desire that we'd like to bring him in on a permanent loan. I've spoken regularly to Gary Johnson, I get on very well with Gary, the valuations don't meet at this particular time but we'll keep trying to see if we can edge that forward or move it a little bit. Gary is keen probably to let Richard out on loan or move him along a little bit, he's not really going to figure I don't think in Bristol City's first-team so we're waiting in the wings. Gary is very much aware of our bid and it's a phone call or two I'll still be making in the next few days just to see if anything has altered with that. We'd be keen to bring Richard back up of course though. "

" I watched Joe (Widdowson) play for West Ham reserves against Aston Villa a week ago last night. We asked if Joe could come up and play in the game yesterday against Chester but West Ham are keen to keep all their players right from top to bottom for the foreseeable future. That really remains with Alan Curbishley to let me know if they can do that or if they want to have a look at Joe, having signed Evan now then that position seems to be a bit more settled for us. Joe is a good young footballer though and it's something that I will keep an eye on.

" We've only lost the one game in the last three so it's not about getting back to winning ways in general. We've done very well at home and we've got a good home record and we want to protect that. It's very important this Saturday that we do that but we will not be taking Crewe lightly. I was at the Crewe v Leeds game last night, I went to have a look at them at first hand, and recognise that they are going to be a difficult proposition for us. As everyone is in this league, there is nothing easy whatsoever about trying to stay in the top six of any division.

" We're confident of our own ability though, we were disappointed that we finally succumbed to a sloppy goal at Doncaster on Saturday after working very hard to stay with the game. So we owe ourselves a better result this weekend if we can get it. I think it's very important that I don't swing from the rafters when we win and dig a big hole and bury myself when we get beat. It's just important to stay on an even keel and if I profess that to my players then I think it goes into them.

" It was a disappointment, we'd worked very hard at half-time, Doncaster had better possession but we stayed with the game and we probably had the clearer chances in the second period. It was a much more even game in the second-half and we probably had the better chances to get ourselves in front. They were two very good teams in Doncaster Rovers and Carlisle United and I was pleased to be manager of Carlisle on that day even though we lost the game.

" We'll be pushing our players to have the same outlook and the same perspective for Saturday, in saying that the same commitment will give us a good chance of winning the next game. It's very important that we don't get too uptight about losses or too excited about wins, and that we keep our focus on what is to come because there is always something to come. I'm pleased to get the first new lad in and hopefully we can get one or two more new faces for the supporters. "