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Retained and Released 2024 | BlueArmyBlog | A Carlisle United Blog

We're ending this season with 27 senior players under contract and 5 players on loan. Taking into account Nugent and Kilsby have been out on loan, that gives us 30 senior players available (if all fit), to choose a match day squad which consists of 18 players. That could leave up to 12 players missing out on being in the squad and getting competitive minutes.

It can't come as any surprise that the squad morale has been at a low this season. It's hard to keep players happy who aren't in the squad even if you're winning.

The fact that we've had so many injuries has compounded the failings in the squad, as on occasions we've not been able to produce a match-day squad of senior players.

Looking ahead to next season, the three most important things when trying to mould a squad should be:

  1. Having a realistic number of players where every player has the chance to be involved

  2. Sign players who have a good injury record

  3. Sign loan players who will make significant contributions or don't bother

Looking at the elites of the game, a team like Manchester City use a core of 18-19 players throughout the season. That's clearly a lot less than our numbers. We've used 32 players in the league this season. Whether it's our training methods, the training pitches, bad luck or injury-prone players (probably a combination of everything), we must improve our injury record. Our backroom staff numbers have significantly increased over the season. They have the resources to improve our injury record, and it must if we are to have success.

When looking at the retained/released list, I am of the opinion that we need to move on as many players as possible in order to change the mentality of the group. If we fail to do this, we could start the season like Forest Green did in League Two.

There are a few players I am 50/50 on, however, I have marked them retained (they are all under contract until 2025), as I'm not sure how easy it's going to be to move on players who are under contract.

Out of contract 2024

Holy - Release

With Breeze signing a context extension, and the signing of Lewis, Holy's place in the squad becomes redundant. I wish him the best of luck.

Paul Huntington - Release

It may come as a surprise that I have selected the captain to be released, however, he's a year older, making him susceptible to injury, along with being slightly slower. Resources should be used to sign more athletic players. His leadership will be missed and needs to be replaced.

Whelan - Release

Can't come as a surprise as he wasn't available for the second half of the season.

Kilsby - Offer and loan out

Keep building experience in senior football.

Emmanuel - Release

Too injury-prone and hasn't shown enough for me.

Gibson - Release

Good player on his day. Lacking the correct mentality. Need to replace his attacking threat.

Nugent - Offer and loan out

Keep building experience in senior football.

Maguire - Release

Been a major disappointment. I'd guess he'd be one of the top earners. We can definitely do better with the resources spent on him.

Dudik - Offer and loan out

Keep building experience in senior football.

Under contract until 2025

Robinson - Available for free transfer (I could go either way)

This seems a bit harsh, however, we have Armer tied down long-term. If we're going to stick with 3 at the back, attacking wing backs who can carry the ball, and have pace and power are essential. Robinson isn't this, and having that space available in the squad gives us the opportunity to improve that position.

Ellis - Retain

Good squad player for League Two. Actually think he'd be better suited to playing as RCB in a three. His injury record is starting to become a concern.

Lavelle - Retain (I could either way)

Been poor for the second half of this season. He might be good as a League Two centre-back. I was worried about his attitude after that celebration. I wouldn't be upset if he left. I'd guess he'd be a higher earner too.

Barclay - Retain (I could either way)

Decent League Two CB. Slightly injury-prone.

Guy - Retain

We've missed him since his injury. He's going to be a massive player for us next season when he returns from injury.

Vela - Retain

Newish signing. Hope he can stay fit and contribute next season.

Charters - Retain

Good League Two squad player. Hopefully can stay injury-free and get plenty of minutes.

McCalmont - Available for a free transfer

Is he an eight or is he a ten? He doesn't contribute enough to goals and assists to be an attacking midfielder, and can't contribute defensively to be box-to-box. For these reasons, I'd like to see a replacement come to be more specialist. McCalmont is a good presser, but I am not sure he can do anything else to a high standard. The question is would he get a better offer elsewhere?

Harris - Available for free transfer

It's not worked out for Harris. National League is his level.

McGeouch - Available for free transfer

Good player on his day, but, his injury record is not good. We need to move on injury-prone players. I am sure he offers from elsewhere where he might get a two-year deal.

Butterworth - Retain (I could either way)

There's a player in there somewhere. He's a good finisher. He works hard. The question marks are his fitness, injury record, use of the ball when in possession, and knowing his best position. If we could move him on, then maybe we should if we can't move on every target. I've retained him for now.


Number of players under contract (not including loans) in 2023/24 - 27 players

Number of players released or leave on a free transfer - 10 players

Number of players available for loan - 3 players

Squad numbers before 2024/25 signings - 14 players (Lewis, Breeze, Ellis, Armer, Mellish, Barclay, Lavelle, Guy, Neal, Vela, Charters, Butterworth, Armstrong, Kelly)

Spaces in the squad (subject to being able to move on players who are under contract)

GK (on loan)

Attacking RWB

Attacking LWB

CB x 3

CM x 2

Forward x 3

TOTAL - 11 new signings or loans

Makes a squad of 25

It is going to be very interesting what Simmo and the staff do. I hope he'll be ruthless. All will be revealed after the Derby game.


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