Manager Paul Simpson says Greg Abbott “ticked all the boxes” when he was looking for a new head of recruitment at Carlisle United.

Former Blues boss Abbott has started work back at his old club after agreeing to return in the new senior scouting position.

Simpson said Abbott’s knowledge of the club, the levels United are scouting and his sheer enthusiasm made him the top choice.

It has seen a return to Brunton Park for the man who was in the hotseat himself from 2008 to 2013.

Simpson explained how the move came about and said: “I can’t actually remember the first time I spoke with Greg, a couple of weeks ago maybe.

“I’d been speaking with other people as well. I had three or four people I was speaking to, getting advice from friends in the game who are all working at a really good level.

News and Star: Abbott was United manager from 2008-13 (photo: PA)Abbott was United manager from 2008-13 (photo: PA)

“This scouting role…I used to always find them quite amusing because whenever you go out to games, you saw the same group of people at the same games – they must clock up hundreds and thousands of miles.

“I’ve got people I know on the recruitment scene, who know who’s working, who goes out to games…I’ve asked them for opinions and got some feedback.

“I then got down to a point where I had three or four in mind, I spoke to them all, and through the conversations I just decided Greg ticks more boxes than the others – and he was so enthusiastic about coming back.

“I needed to ask the question ‘What’s your relationship with the directors?’ because obviously as a manager we’ve all been sacked and sometimes that relationship can get broken.

“He said, ‘No – I’ve got a brilliant relationship, we’ve kept in touch, I’d love the opportunity to come back’.

“And that was my thinking. He has got so much enthusiasm, I think I’m gonna have to get to a point where I lock the door so he can’t come in and bend me ear…but I want that, I want people who are really enthusiastic about watching football, speaking to agents.

“He will take so much off me of that side of it. It’s part and parcel of the job but will give me the opportunity to try and focus on the football.”

Abbott has been in Brunton Park this week as United draw up recruitment plans for the close season.

News and Star: Simpson said Abbott is working with analyst Jacob Blain, right (photo: Richard Parkes)Simpson said Abbott is working with analyst Jacob Blain, right (photo: Richard Parkes)

Simpson said the 58-year-old was ready to hit the ground running in the new position.

He said: “He’s been watching games all season. Unfortunately for Solihull Moors, where he’s been working on a consultancy basis, I’m going to be tapping into the work he’s done for them.

“I’m sure he’s left them with enough information but he’s got an idea, the contacts, the desire to speak to people.

“He’s been locked in the meeting room now with Jacob Blain [United’s analyst] looking through some player clips, and I’ve been in there with him for an hour as well.

“The first part we have to do is get the system set up for us to all have an interactive working place. He’s going to be based at home and we’re up here; he doesn’t have to be in the football club every day.

“I wanted somebody who’s located outside of Carlisle, so it’s not a two-hour round trip to get to the nearest game; he’s in a catchment area.

“He will be putting a group of scouts together on a part-time [basis], and we’ll try and cover as much of the country as we possibly can – probably focusing on north west Yorkshire and everywhere coming north from there, including Scotland because that’s going to be a really good catchment area for us.

“He’s putting that plan together, but every ten minutes his and my phone’s going with agents ringing trying to suggest somebody else.

“We’re trying to get a big pool of players together, really focusing on the targets we want to go for, and we’ll probably hit the ground running in a week or two weeks with where we want to go with it.”

Simpson added that, while he has come across Abbott over the years, he did not know him closely prior to this appointment.

“We’re going to build a relationship as we go along,” he said.

“My idea in football is this isn’t an old boys club, an old mates club – it’s not about bringing people in just to give my pals a job.

“I know of Greg, I’ve come up against him, whether he was here or at other clubs.

News and Star: Abbott has worked for clubs including Notts County, Bradford City and Solihull Moors since leaving Carlisle in 2013 (photo: Stuart Walker)Abbott has worked for clubs including Notts County, Bradford City and Solihull Moors since leaving Carlisle in 2013 (photo: Stuart Walker)

“I like the way he is, he’s got incredible enthusiasm for football and the job, he loves working, and I think over time we can develop a really good relationship and the truth will come when we get all our group together.

“It won’t be Greg Abbott who will be solely in charge of doing the recruitment and getting the players.

“He will do the spadework, a lot of the background work, and we’ll come together with our ideas and targets and then try and get it over the line.

“He has a really important role but I’m not doing this to try and take pressure off me if signings don’t work and I can blame somebody else. I’m doing it because I think it’s right for the football club.”

READ MORE: Greg Abbott returns to Carlisle United as head of recruitment