Yesterday’s retrieval of the game brought the Blues back home with another frustrating journey as they reached the next M5 exit to begin the trek back north once confirmation came that the away game at Newport was postponed to the still-to-be-done pile had been.
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And as soon as that call came in, the focus shifted to the next task – what to do with a group that has been without a fixed point for almost a month?
After moving his weekly virtual press conference forward 24 hours as part of his now restructured week, manager Chris Beech spoke about the need to adapt to the club’s ever-changing circumstances.
“Adaptability is what football is all about,” he said. “I remember starting at Bury and I didn’t have the money to buy footballs and that was 17 years ago. I had to speak to the Miter rep and get some old SPL balls because he was selling them cheap.
“You have to try to find a way, and it’s the same for everyone in all kinds of companies. We have to try to find a way to deal with our current circumstances. That’s part of being Carlisle United’s manager.
“We can be frustrated, we can use it as an excuse, but what’s the point if we’re honest. My view is that we’ve played 21 games and we’ve won more than anyone in the league up to that point, and I think we’re still with a couple of teams on 12 that have played more.
“If the players are anything like me, they’ll be highly motivated to get started again. I look forward to talking about something other than games that aren’t being played. I want to talk about great goals Omari scores or great passes Callum scores.
“I want Ethan Walker to score his first goal and we want to concede another one because that’s what we’re here for. Hopefully we’ll get to it next Saturday. “
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And he affirmed that one thing that hasn’t been dampened is the competitive advantage promoted in a close-knit locker room.
“There is a real competitive advantage that got worse in training this week, but I won’t be sharing that before Saturday’s game,” he commented. “There are a few injuries, but I’m not ready to say who is at this point.
“We’re very open and honest on most of the interviews, but I think if we don’t have a bit of our own Carlisle code, the more they tell you, the more they know, so I’d rather not do that.
“Footballers want to play football, and if they can’t, they want to train. So when they can’t exercise, there is a lot of frustration. We’re really looking forward to the game on Saturday. We’re going to use the field today to get a full training session for the boys and I’m really looking forward to it.
“Imagine you’re a boxer and every time you’re ready to go in the ring it’s taken away from you. All it means to me is to motivate myself even more when I didn’t think it was possible to be more motivated than when I started, and I think that’s going to do it to the players. “
One of the players contributing to this competitive spirit is forward Josh Kayode, who it turned out had the option to discuss a loan deal with a League One club before his recall was triggered by parent club Rotherham.
“He’s a very good player and he’s grown so much on and off the pitch that he’s actually growing physically,” said the gaffer. “I took him to the field the first day I brought him here last season and we talked about how he can make his mark on the football league.
“I gave him his debut and of course I want him to have a great career, but I told him while he was here that he should grow and respect the opportunity we gave him.
“Maybe that helped him make his decision when we got to the last day he could go elsewhere. He decided to stick around to keep this up, and a big part of that will be the nice news he gets on social media.
“It’s hard for him, he doesn’t live at home and he has to make sacrifices, but we’re all in different ways. He doesn’t have to do it, but if we all do then we’re trying to make it worth it.
“JJ looked at this and wanted to stay and he turned down the opportunity to go to the top division for it.”
And to get back to the subject of adaptability, he said, “If you can’t play, you want to train, and if you can’t train, you’ve pretty much failed. It’s your job
“We had to adapt and train in smaller groups at the Neil Center and the gym. George Tanner does his rehab bench press with a mask and gloves on, then sprays off the equipment after using it.
“We are only allowed to play five players at the same time in the gym. So there are all sorts of things that people won’t see. It just shows the guys’ commitment to represent this club and collect three points at the next opportunity.
“You can plan a week and nothing is actually happening on the plan right now, but the point is to adjust that plan. Unless you work at a football club where you can practice eight grass pitches with underfloor heating and a pool to warm up, and somewhere we can all come to breakfast with our families on a Sunday to make sure we use all we can .
“We have done very well so far and we have to try to continue.”
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