Nigel Clibbens insists there is nothing “systematic” about Carlisle United’s recent habit of falling away in the second half of a season.

The Blues’ 2020/21 campaign was the latest which saw the Cumbrians slide from a very promising mid-campaign position.

It followed a similar pattern seen in other recent seasons at Brunton Park.

Chief executive Clibbens says the reasons for last term’s fall are being explored by the Blues.

But he denied there was anything ingrained at United that meant the Blues were always destined to slump in the second half of a season.

Asked about the subject at this week’s fans’ forum, Clibbens said: “There’s no getting away from the fact we’ve had some seasons where we’ve had some fantastic starts and for various reasons haven’t quite got over the line in the second half of the season. We all recognise that.

“This particular season there’s been lots of debate about the whys and wherefores of why we didn’t make it after the first half we did have.

“The club and football department – David [Holdsworth], Chris [Beech], Gav [Skelton], the players – they’re all looking and having an honest appraisal of what’s happened in the second half of the season.

“There are things that are controllable and things that aren’t controllable.

“I think it’s important that process takes place, it has been and will continue to do so.

“I’ve seen reports that it’s a Carlisle problem – we always fade away in the second half of the season.

“I don’t think there’s anything systematic in that. It’s just how it is.

“It’s disappointing nonetheless.”

Previous United seasons that have fallen away in the second half include 2018/19, when a rise to the automatic promotion places under John Sheridan was followed by a decline under Steven Pressley, with the squad also hit by the loss of loan players.

The automatic promotion push of 2016/17 turned into a scramble to make the play-offs under Keith Curle when Carlisle sold top scorer Charlie Wyke and also suffered some key injuries.

A play-off chance in 2015/16 also faded after the midway point of a campaign which saw United hit hard by the Storm Desmond floods.

As for 2020/21, United have often cited the damaging effects of a Covid-19 outbreak, coupled with a string of postponements, to explain why their form declined.

They topped the table on January 2 but finished 10th in League Two.

Clibbens denied Carlisle's fall had been anything to do with a lack of ambition, and said there was plenty of evidence that they had tried to capitalise on their opportunity.

He added: “When we got to January, all the reports [and] the feel-good factor was that the January window was excellent and the best we’ve had in a while.

“There’s no shortage of saying, ‘Right, let’s get over the line’ and endeavouring to do it.

“We’re trying to give as much support to Chris and the football department as we can, to try and help them get across the line.”

Clibbens also claimed that, squad wise, United were in better shape this summer than the same time last year.

He said: “Compare this season to where we were this time last season, and I think we’re in a far better place.

“We’re going to have a lot less churn than last year, where basically we were reconstructing a team from scratch

“We’ve got the building blocks in place. We had a fantastic first half of the season and there are lots of positives to take away from that.”