Like several other sides, Carlisle were left clinging to their football league life by a thread towards the end of last season. Keith Curle came in and did a good job to stabilise things and now it’s time for a club that a few years ago was competitive in League One to start looking up and not down.
Last Season: League Two (20th)
Manager: Keith Curle
GKs: Mark Gillespie, Dan Hanford, Danny Eccles
DFs: Danny Grainger, Troy Archibald-Henville, Courtney Meppen-Walter, Patrick Brough, Matt Douglas, Michael Raynes, David Atkinson, Tom Miller, Alexander McQueen
MFs: Antony Sweeney, Gary Dicker, Danny Kearns, Steven Rigg, Connor Hammell, Carl Taylor, Anthony Griffith, Jason Kennedy, Luke Joyce, Bastien Hery, Angelo Balanta
FWs: Mark Beck, Charlie Wyke, Jabo Ibehre, Derek Asamoah
In: David Atkinson (Middlesbrough), Luke Joyce (Accrington Stanley), Jason Kennedy (Bradford City), Tom Miller (Lincoln City), Michael Raynes (Mansfield Town), Angelo Balanta (Bristol Rovers), Bastien Hery (Rochdale), Jabo Ibehre (Colchester United), Alexander McQueen (Tottenham Hotspur)
Out: David Amoo (Released), Stephen Elliott (Released), Josh Gillies (Gateshead), Sean O’Hanlon (Stockport County), Matty Robson (Released), David Symington (Released), Paul Thirwell (Harrogate Town), Brad Potts (Blackpool), Nathan Buddle (Gateshead), Billy Paynter (Hartlepool United), Kyle Dempsey (Huddersfield Town)
First Six: Mansfield Town (A), Cambridge United (H), Plymouth Argyle (A), AFC Wimbledon (H), Hartlepool United (A), Barnet (H)
Likely Lineup: (4-5-1 Gillespie – Miller, Archibald-Henville, Grainger, Brough – Balanta, Joyce, Hery, Kennedy, Asamoah – Ibehre
A word from…Zigor Aranalde
On promotion during his first season It was very special. You never know at the beginning how things will develop but we had a very good team with a good mixture of experience and youth as well as a good man manager. It was a great feeling and the satisfaction of an achieved objective.
On potentially staying at the club if they’d won the play-offs That’s something that we will never know. I was very happy at the club and the city. I would never leave but when you meet a manager that doesn’t like you that’s it, so, probably I could still be there if I didn’t meet John Ward.
I follow from a distance now but I am aware of the results. I also every now and then speak with Dolly although I haven’t lately.
On the importance of a settled squad I don’t know what happened since I left but it is very important to have a competent manager as well as a committed and good professionals group of players. That was exactly what we where at my time at the club and not always is easy to build teams like that.
On summer recruitment This is a question that I only can answer a part of it because I don’t know the players. Obviously the more and better quality players you have is a fact that will give you more chances to be successful but if you don’t mix that up with work, honesty and professionalism as well as a competent man manager there is a risk to be only a good group of players but maybe not a good team. From the actual team I only know Luke Joyce (we were teammates) and Gary Dicker (from Brighton when I was chief scout) and both have the required quality, professionalism and attitude as far as I remember to help the team develop.
The Offside Rule Podcast Prediction: There’s been a big turnaround in players already this summer and Curle has left some good players go. He’ll need time to make it work but he should have enough to at least survive once again.
Key Player: Jabo Ibehre – Carlisle need someone to find the net and Ibehre has a good record when he gets a run of games. Could be a shrewd buy for a struggling League Two side.
One to Watch: Angelo Balanta – Had a good spell with Bristol Rovers in the Conference last season and given some successful loan spells with MK Dons in a higher division, the Colombian should thrive in League Two.