Paul Simpson has confirmed that he has met the Americans who are hoping to take over at Carlisle United.

The Blues manager says he had a “conversation” earlier this week with Florida businessman Tom Piatak.

Simpson is the first senior figure at Brunton Park to openly confirm that the Jacksonville family, who were at Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Exeter City, have been at the club behind the scenes.

Logistics businessman Piatak and his son, also Tom, wore United replica home shirts as they watched the game from the Andrew Jenkins Stand before moving to the Warwick Road End.

They are understood to have been in the area for several days as discussions continue about the future of the Blues.

The club’s hierarchy and supporters’ trust CUOSC have not named the Piataks as interested parties, but it is widely understood that they are in advanced talks and are set to meet fans at a series of trust members’ meetings next month, news of the latter plans having emerged on Friday.

Simpson, asked by the News & Star after the game if he had plans to meet them, said: “I don’t know when they’re here until. I’ve already met them. I’ve spoken to them.

“I had a conversation with them over this week. But literally a really casual conversation.

“They haven’t come and told me they’re going to do this and going to do that. We’ve just had a meet and greet and that literally was it.”

News and Star: Tom Piatak snr, centre left, and jnr, centre right, at Saturday's gameTom Piatak snr, centre left, and jnr, centre right, at Saturday's game (Image: Barbara Abbott)

Simpson said he had been unaware of Friday’s developments, which saw CUOSC confirm that investment talks were ongoing and that “potential investors” were set to meet fans.

United also confirmed that they were in takeover talks. The Piataks were not officially named but the Americans' involvement in discussions is now an open secret.

“I didn’t actually know anything had come out in the last couple of days, I don’t read it,” Simpson said.

“I don’t know – there are lots and lots of things that need to happen before we can start getting really excited about it.

“Honestly I don’t know what stage they’re at. That’s not me ducking it. I just think it’s a very exciting situation to be in.”

Simpson added a further note of caution and realism in terms of the stage of any potential deal.

“I’ve been told the club have been in this position many times before,” he said.

“I just hope something happens that the current group of directors feel is appropriate for the club and, whoever the new people are going to be, they come in and they’re going to take the club forward, that’s all I hope.

“And hopefully that involves me as well.”

The Exeter game is the latest in a series of United fixtures attended by the Piataks.

As revealed by the News & Star, they sat close to Blues directors at the League Two play-off final against Stockport County at Wembley in May.

Members of the family had also attended that month’s play-off semi-final second leg against Bradford City at Brunton Park, as well as a pre-season friendly at Annan Athletic in July.

They also visited Brunton Park during the summer and, on Saturday, made little secret of their presence at the ground, Tom junior posting a video on Instagram taken in the Warwick Road End during the second half.

The Piataks have not yet responded to the News & Star’s invitations to comment on the situation.

Blues chief executive Nigel Clibbens, in an official update to fans on Friday, confirmed that parties with "credible" interest in a takeover were in discussions with the club.

But he stressed the importance of United’s seven-figure debt to Purepay Retail Limited being dealt with before any takeover deal was likely, letters from lawyers having been exchanged and the Blues having tabled a new repayment proposal.

CUOSC also said “delicate” talks on the debt were ongoing.