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Summer 2023 Squad Building | BlueArmyBlog | A Carlisle United Blog

On the back of the news of Denno not re-signing with us (all the best to him), I have been thinking about the squad and what we need to do this summer.

Firstly, if you consider that the released players Lewis Bell, Brennan Dickenson, Josh Dixon, Sam Fishburn, Tobi Sho-Silva, and Scott Simons did not make the squad list below, we had a big squad including loan players. Thinking back to when we didn't have many injuries, there were always quite a few who did not make the matchday squad.

The main thing to consider when thinking about squad building is the preferred formation. Last season saw us mostly use 3-5-2 with us reverting to 4-3-3 when required. Looking at the fact that Whelan had his option triggered, I think Simmo will stick with 3-5-2 as the preferred formation, and, having Mellish always gives you the option of flipping to a 4-3-3.

Based on how the squad was composed last season, we had around 25 players including loanees who were part of the first-team squad.


Simmo has already said in an interview that he wants to bring in a new keeper to challenge Holy and Breeze. It's a direct replacement for Kelly. It will be tough to sign someone who sees themselves as a first-team league one goalkeeper (Conor Ripley was recently released by Morecambe as an example). Maybe a young loan player from the Championship or Premier League? Will be interesting to see.

Central Defence

If Feeney signs, we've probably got the least amount of work to do in central defence. With Kilsby being left-footed, he's a natural backup for Mellish. If Stockport are willing to release Barclay on a free, I'd be happy with that.


We need to sign a RWB to replace Senior and Back. There are rumors floating around that Back might come in for another loan next season, he is contracted at Forest until 2024 according to Transfermarkt. Whoever comes in you would have thought they will back (no pun intended) themselves to start a lot of games with Ellis being the completion for the position.


Armer has this position as locked down as it can be in my opinion. Bar injury, whoever we sign is likely to not get too many league minutes. Can Kilsby play this position? Do we need 10 defenders? Could we sign a utility player who can play centre half and LWB bringing the pool of defenders down to 9? I suppose the opportunity in the market will determine the outcome.

Central Midfield

This is the position that requires the most attention this summer. A few ifs and buts, will Moxon stay, will Charters sign, will Harris be loaned out, etc. It certainly feels like we need some experience to replace Devitt. In a world where Moxon leaves and Charters doesn't sign, we could need five new central midfielders. If they did stay we certainly need a minimum of two. McCalmont told the News & Star that he would 'love' to come back, he is contracted to Leeds until 2024 according to Transfermarkt. It feels like a few permanents are required here rather than loans to get the numbers up.


It's pretty easy to see what we need here, a straight-up centre forward to replace Dennis, and a hybrid wing forward to replace Gordon. Should Partick not sign, then it's two hybrid wing forwards. Maybe a left-footer to play off the right if we revert to 4-3-3? We certainly need someone prolific as I can't see any of our current forwards getting over 10 league goals next season. Could Cole Stockton who is a free agent be a possibility? He's only had one 20 goal-scoring season in his career. Can we get anyone much better? Dan Agyei is out of contract at Crewe and scored 16 goals in League Two last season, it's another risk thought as he's 26 years old and only got into double figures once.

Final Thoughts

It's clear that the squad harmony and morale are very good following the promotion. There is a lot of work required with Simmo quoting up to double figures when referencing new signings. While player quality is important, I can see the recruitment team also really concentrating on player personality and how they fit into our squad dynamic. This is where Greg and Simmo's contacts will help us. I am sure they will be finding out everything about the players prior to signing.

A busy summer ahead.

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