Carlisle United's academy manager Simon Friel is set to leave the Blues and join a club in Ireland.

Friel, who has headed the Brunton Park club's youth set-up for two-and-a-half years, is poised to join Shamrock Rovers.

It leaves the Cumbrians seeking a new academy boss, with the club saying they want "new ideas and drive".

Friel has been in the position since the summer of 2021 after the departure of Eric Kinder from the role.

He has overseen United's work in their Category Three academy.

But he is now, according to the Irish Independent, set to move to the Republic of Ireland to become academy director at Shamrock Rovers.

Friel, from Fermanagh in Northern Ireland, was previously youth development lead phase coach at Brunton Park.

United say he will remain at the club for a transition period as they seek a successor.

The Blues added that it is an opportunity for "new ideas and drive" in their youth department since the Piatak takeover. 

The running of United's academy has been under scrutiny since Blues manager Paul Simpson heavily criticised it in comments to the News & Star in November.

Simpson said: “At this moment in time I think the academy needs a bit of a shake-up, because it’s not in a good state in my opinion.

"The recruitment has to be better.

“That might seem really harsh, but that’s me being totally honest.

“When you look at the academy audit, on paper it looks very good, but the proof of the pudding is we’ve got to produce players for our first team.

“Carlisle United as a football club…we need players coming from our academy. If we haven’t recruited them properly at 9s, 10s, 14s, whatever it is, then it makes it really difficult at under-16.”

United, in a statement said, said: "We would like to thank Simon for his work with the club and wish him all the best for the future."

Chief executive Nigel Clibbens said: “Simon has moved the academy forward in his time in charge, in what has undoubtedly been a challenging period.

News and Star: Nigel Clibbens says that, under the Piataks, there is the opportunity for new ideas and drive in United's academyNigel Clibbens says that, under the Piataks, there is the opportunity for new ideas and drive in United's academy (Image: Richard Parkes)

"He has ensured we have maintained the high standards required under EPPP as a Category 3 academy, at a time of increasing expectations and demands with fixed and limited resources. Simon leaves with the best wishes of the club.

"Looking ahead, with plans being developed for new, improved facilities for the whole club, new ambitions and investment coming from the change of ownership, it's a great time for new ideas and drive to come into the academy.

"It is a fantastic opportunity to build and shape the football development programme for the long-term.

"The club will now seek a replacement to lead the academy in what promises to be a very exciting future ahead."