I felt it was telling that John Sheridan didn’t do the post-match interviews after Carlisle’s defeat to Forest Green. It told me that he is feeling ever more frustrated about his team’s up-and-down form.

The manager has been honest in his previous interviews when he noted how his side would get a good result and then immediately a bad one, and that it left him banging his head against a brick wall.

Tommy Wright, who spoke to the press on Saturday, used that exact phrase in fact. You just sense that frustration in Sheridan, bearing in mind he spoke a couple of weeks ago about how he would love to go down the throats of some of his players in a more old-school way, but feels that he can’t, because it’s a different game today and players are more likely to “sulk”.

With the approach he took, he got a great reaction from them at Swindon - but then we came back to another Brunton Park defeat.

I’ve often felt Carlisle have been in a game even when they’ve been beaten, but I have to say that Saturday was a poor performance.

I don’t like getting into the players and hammering them, because I’ve been there myself. I know that sometimes you just have one of those days when things don’t come off, no matter how hard you try.

I do, though, feel that Saturday was more than that. It seemed a case of too many people not being at it at all. If Jamie Devitt wasn’t going to get on the ball, you couldn’t see anything happening. Adam Collin had a strong game in goal but I don’t think anybody else did themselves justice.

Forest Green, on the other hand, played well, took advantage and fully deserved their victory.

It can be asked whether the group of players Carlisle have are simply better suited to playing away from home, but I don’t buy that.

If you win away from home, you should be capable of winning at home.

One aspect that is certainly coming to the fore - and it’s something Sheridan and Paul Murray have both mentioned recently – is the lack of vocal players in the team. Characters.

It’s evident that there isn’t enough of them at Carlisle. When it comes to being really vocal, if it isn’t Anthony Gerrard, or Devitt to a certain extent, it’s no-one.

When the second goal went in on Saturday, I didn’t see enough people saying or doing anything. The body language Sheridan referred to, when he accused players of sulking, was again poor after Carl Winchester put the visitors 2-0 up.

And yes, Carlisle did get the penalty to make it 2-1, and had a go in the closing stages, but it was mainly a case of throwing it long, and in general you couldn’t be confident something was going to happen.

Sheridan says that, over the course of his own career, he has been used to having players not standing for certain things that are below par, and getting into each other if needed. That, he has said, applies to his playing days as well as some of his time in management.

You have to think he will be hoping to add some of those qualities, if he can, when the transfer window opens, and also in the longer-term at Brunton Park.

It is one thing having a good team spirit, where you are all close and good mates, but you still have to have that line where you can get stuck into someone if needed - and they are able to take it without biting back.

Take that second Forest Green goal again. It was just a kick forward, and in the space of two passes Winchester was in on goal.

That can’t be allowed to happen. There needs to be people taking account for that.

Assistant manager Wright also said it may take another couple of windows before Carlisle have the kind of players and squad they want. I think that was a fair comment.

I believe it is only right that managers get that time to put their proper stamp on things. Mark Cooper has been at Forest Green for a decent amount of time now, and I’m sure in his first few months they weren’t playing the sort of football they are now.

He has developed a team and a squad, and Sheridan needs to be given the chance to do that. You can see good and bad parts right now and that is what you will get in your first six months.

It is going to take time, and in Carlisle’s case, probably more time than normal, because of the budget constraints.

Tonight at Notts County in the league is the latest in a cluster of games which United need to use to stay in touch, and also to remain a decent prospect for those players who might see them as an option in January.

The FA Cup is important for financial reasons too - if United can turn Lincoln over next weekend it would be a massive boost to what they can offer, come that window.

In terms of the league, if you are a player looking at the table, you might think United, in 11th, aren’t far off, even if their form hasn’t yet shown the consistency that convinces you they are going to make a real push.

Improving that position, in order to give themselves the best chance of snapping up whichever players they will be realistically after, could be very timely.

Phonecalls are being made at this time of year and some good results this side of Christmas can help persuade someone that Brunton Park is genuinely a good place for them to be.


There will be a lot of scrutiny on what happens to Ashley Nadesan in January, with Carlisle keen to extend his stay at Brunton Park but Joey Barton saying he will be going back to fight for his place at Fleetwood.

It is also probably time for the striker and his representatives to speak up about what his own intentions are.

He is out of contract in the summer and Fleetwood may have to make a decision quickly. Nadesan has been at Carlisle for the best part of a year now and clearly likes it here. My own suspicion is that he would like to stay.

He is also the star man in terms of goalscoring this season, and that could sway it in United’s favour when it comes down to what he wants to do.

There may be other interest in him but it will depend on what level that interest is coming from.

I can’t yet see there being massive clubs chasing him so you would like to think Carlisle could compete with those who are.

The problem could come if someone at the top end of League Two – a Lincoln, an Exeter, for example – decides they want to take him.

The most important thing from a player’s point of view is to be somewhere he is going to play, and Nadesan knows Carlisle are offering that at the minute.

If he ends up moving on, it will be a challenge for Carlisle to replace him and this is the problem when you are relying on so many loan players.

It can leave you bare and running the risk of it all changing within a window.

You would expect United to have to wheel and deal in January either way, and that could be a case of whoever isn’t playing, whether permanent or loans, having to move on.

As a supporter, deciding who you’d rather keep and who you would be happy to see go might depend on when the question is asked. The answer would probably be different after the Swindon game compared with after Forest Green.

Sheridan and the club will have to make their judgements carefully and hope Carlisle can build, rather than have to start again.

Chris Lumsdon's column is sponsored by Safe & Sound Security Solutions (UK) Limited. Enquiries@safeandsoundsecurityltd.co.uk, Tel 01228 543800, www.safeandsoundsecurityltd.co.uk