John Ward - Radio Cumbria Interview

Last updated : 22 January 2008 By Thetashkentterror

John Ward
United boss John Ward spoke to BBC Radio Cumbria's James Phillips on Tuesday evening, Ward giving an update on the current transfer window activity at Brunton Park as well as looking ahead to Friday night's away game at Cheltenham Town :

" You've not surprised me with the question on Cleveland Taylor, I'm not saying it's exactly the same because we've had further dialogue with Scunthorpe today and over the last 48 hours. We're in the same position though, we're still waiting for something to get together on it and we all agree, even if we did do that we still have to speak to Cleveland because we haven't had official permission to chat to him yet.

" There is still a fair way to go but we're in the similar position that we were on Friday, but, as I say, further dialogue has happened so we just keep our fingers crossed at this end that we can get something sorted out in the next few days. We've got the information, we were informed that Cleveland would like to come and talk to Carlisle United and we would like that to happen. Until Scunthorpe United agree to that request we can't go any further but we are aware of that and Scunthorpe are aware of that.

" We're just hoping that the situation can get resolved and Scunthorpe accept our offer and we can chat to Cleveland, but until that is the case we are left where we are. I know people think that nothing is happening but if they were sat in my chair knowing what I know they would know that a lot has gone on and a lot is happening. It just seems very slow progress when you are reading it in the paper or listening to the radio each day.

" It is frustrating but he is still their player and I respect that and understand that. I can't go in there making any demands whatsoever, Scunthorpe value him a little higher than we do and that's fine. We're still trying hard to get the situation resolved and hopefully get the player in. If Cleveland came in then he'd be the third one, we've got a couple in with Evan Horwood and Grant Smith who are playing in the reserve game tonight, so we have made certain progess in strengthening the squad.

" If we manage to get a couple more in then that would be really good in terms of it. We are making enquiries with other players and again, the situation there is that I am not going to name names, it's not right of me to do that. We are very hopeful though that we might see another new face in as well, if we could get Cleveland and another one on top of that. "

" The geography can be a problem simply because of the place, but I think that when you look at the league position and people see the football that is on offer and the squad that we have then that is an enticement in itself. I think footballers are happy to play in a team that has some success behind it. Certainly over the last three years it emanates that from this football club and this year is a nice one when you look at us at the moment. They like to live where it's convenient but the football has a big precedent over that and I think I haven't found people saying no because it's Carlisle and it's in the North of England. That hasn't happened to me yet.

" I'm as confident as is possible that we'll get people in, I'm a bit old school as people are aware and until something is agreed and signed and a done deal then I am never certain it is going to happen. Because you can get things set up and in the last minute they can be whisked away from you, but I'm pretty confident that we'll have another new face or two in before this window closes. I just hope that I'm right on that but I'm happy enough with the way the position is at the minute in thinking that we will get some resolution to it.

" I've been back to watch a game there (Cheltenham), I went back to see them play Port Vale prior to our game with Vale, so I've been very much welcomed back into the club on that evening. Hopefully the same will happen to me on Friday. He (Keith Downing) has done an excellent job, it's a difficult job as he found out early doors when he went in, he had a few injuries and he is just beginning to get people back fit again. He's recruited very well on the loan market with people like Steve Brooker and (Alex) Russell in midfield from Bristol City.

" Good players, good solid people, they have won their last three games without conceding a goal as well so in terms of our away form and their home away form, of two of those three games two of them were at home so you'd put them as favourites at the minute, so we've very much aware that it's a tough obstacle. I know from times being down there that they lift their game against the so-called bigger clubs. Only recently they beat Leeds United at Whaddon Road so that shows you the enormity of the task on Friday. We are going to have to be at our best to get a good result.

" People are quite keen to tell me that if the away form had been better then we'd have been striding away at the top and I accept and understand that. We have got to improve it and we have got to be better, we can't totally rely on home form to keep us where we are. Three wins away from home is not enough and we've got to try to improve that, certainly we've got the opportunity in the next two games because they are obviously both away from Brunton Park. So we've got to start with those two and see if we can come back with some prizes after those two games. "

" There are no new injuries at the moment, we've got everybody fit and well, we've got a reserve game tonight so hopefully we'll stay injury-free from that. At the moment though everybody is OK. Paul (Thirlwell) is back in to some controlled jogging work at the moment so we think that a further week with him next week then we could be probably looking to get him back into football. We said probably the end of January and that is looking likely at the moment where we could push him back into football after a further week training with Neil Dalton.

" Controlled jogging is making sure that he doesn't overdo it and pull it back. Neil is in charge of that, what pace he goes at, where he goes and how he does it, that's what I mean by that. So that the lad is not out on his own thinking that he is OK so he'll do a little bit more. It has to be controlled for Paul because none of us want him to have any further setbacks. They (Evan Horwood and Grant Smith) are playing in the reserve game this evening and we'll make any decision about Friday afterwards.

" I came in at third place when I came here, I gave the old shout that we were going very well and I could only mess it up. Fortunately I don't think we have though, we've kept the pace with everybody and everything and the difficulty now, like everybody I guess, is keeping up that challenge and that charge. I've always talked about the top six rather than anything else and we're in a good position to establish that. If we can win on Friday there becomes a gap I think between certainly the top seven breaking away a little bit.

" We've got to try to make sure that we maintain that in the first place and then if we can keep up some consistency of form and try to strengthen the squad a little bit more then hopefully we can stay where we are for a wee bit longer. We'd love to throw the gauntlet down on Friday night but Swansea actually play tonight so they can gallop on a bit more.

" Then they also play Doncaster on Friday so they have got a couple of games this week where we have got one but we keep saying to our lads that Swansea and Doncaster can't both win on Friday, as we did with Leeds and Doncaster last Saturday. There are a heck of a lot of big games to come, not just at Brunton Park or with our football club but all round League One. We've got to try very, very hard to maintain the consistency that we have shown this year and if we can pick it up a little bit, particularly away from home then who knows, and we can enjoy being in this top six a bit longer. "