Paul Simpson says he’s been left “surprised and disappointed” at reports of players on a night out less than 48 hours before Carlisle United’s last game.

And he said anyone found to have broken club rules and codes of conduct will be “dealt with as strongly as we possibly can.”

United issued a statement on Thursday afternoon saying an internal disciplinary process was underway after reports of “some first-team players” involved in an “incident” on Saturday night - ahead of Monday's game against Lincoln City.

Simpson, speaking at his weekly press conference, said he was made aware on Monday evening of footage of the alleged happenings.

He said United are making enquiries in a bid to establish the full facts before taking any disciplinary measures against players involved.

But he underlined that players are expected not to be drinking within 72 hours of any game.

Simpson said he had seen videos and photographs connected to the alleged incidents and said: “Enquiries are being made into it, we are dealing with it internally, and it will become clear that it will be dealt with as strongly as we possibly can.

“I don’t know the full facts of it yet. I have to be very careful what I say.

“It wasn’t something I expected to be told about on Monday night. I’m disappointed,’s something I actually thought wouldn’t happen with footballers nowadays.

“It will be dealt with, I can assure everybody, once we get the full facts.”

Footage emerged on social media in recent days with Jordan Gibson appearing to be one of the players involved. He was not the only player out on the night in question, it is believed.

Simpson stressed that the club’s rules on socialising close to games are clear.

News and Star: Paul SimpsonPaul Simpson (Image: Ben Holmes)

“Everybody signs up to a code of conduct at the start of the season, and the rules are that there’s no alcohol 72 hours prior to a game. That’s really clear,” he said.

“Everybody knows that, and understands [those are] the rules. If those rules have been broken they’ll be dealt with.”

Simpson said he was currently unsure how long the disciplinary process would take, but added: “It will be dealt with as thoroughly as possibly and as quickly as possible, so we can draw a line under it and as a club move on.”

United’s boss declined to say whether any of the players allegedly involved in the incidents would be considered for selection for Saturday’s game against Northampton Town.

He added that he would not be “jumping to conclusions” about the matter until the full facts are known.

But he admitted that the situation would attract the wrong sort of off-field headlines in a season which has already been disappointing on the pitch.

“We’re in a tricky situation so any negative story doesn’t go down well,” Simpson said.

In their earlier statement, the club said: "Following Monday’s game against Lincoln City, we became aware of an incident on Saturday night involving some first-team players.

"This is subject to an ongoing disciplinary procedure."

Simpson was quoted in the statement saying:  “We take these issues seriously and it is being dealt with internally by the club.

“Our focus is on working professionally as we look towards another important game at the weekend and we will make no further comment.”