Hard work already underway for Paul Simpson as Carlisle United get set for League One

Paul Simpson has achieved promotion again with Carlisle United. Credit: PA

Carlisle United manager Paul Simpson has said that the hard work is already well and truly underway as he prepares his side for life in League One.

The Blues defeated Stockport County on penalties after the match at Wembley finished 1-1 after 90 minutes.

It has been some turnaround for Paul Simpson and everyone connected with Carlisle United after the Blues only narrowly avoided relegation out of the football league last season.

Paul Simpson believes the hard work now starts as his side enter League One. Credit: PA

Simpson believes that the success his side has had this season is down to hard work and commitment shown by his players.

He said: "It has been magnificent. I have never had that feeling like we had at Wembley on Sunday. I have had the disappointment of losing play-off finals so that feeling was incredible and it was a culmination of 11 months of sheer graft from everybody.

"It is a brilliant achievement for everybody connected with the football club. It has been a real monumental effort and we really look forward to the challenge ahead."

The Carlisle United supporters endured a nail biting end to the game that culminated in a penalty shootout.

Simpson was full of praise for his players who remained calm and got their side over the line and into League One.

Celebrations went long into the night. Credit: PA

He said: "I think that is the biggest thing, the mental side of it. We knew we had the ability and the physical capabilities to do it but you have got to be able to deal with the occasion and we certainly did.

"I thought we were very unfortunate to go a goal down although I do accept Stockport were the better side throughout the early stages of the game. I thought the way the players dug in and the character that they showed, the togetherness, and then the composure to finish it with five really calm penalties was so satisfying."

Simpson revealed that the celebrations went long into the night on Sunday, although he had to leave the players to finish as he went to his bed.

He said: "There were some mad celebrations on Sunday night. Unfortunately I missed a lot of it because I wasn’t in the changing room when the players went in because of all of my media commitments.

"It is one thing I am a bit disappointed because I didn’t see all of that but we went back to the hotel and everybody had a drink together. I had to call it a night at around midnight and I think it went on for a bit longer after that.

"We then had the journey back up and a group of the players carried on the celebrations last night and I don’t know how long it is going to be going on for.

"Unfortunately for me I have had to go back to the other end of this role in making tough decisions and giving horrible news to some players. I have still got a big smile inside but I am also disappointed I have had to give some news which disappoints people."

Simpson believes that the play-off victory has united the whole city and that he wants to use this season as a springboard to build for the future.

He said: "Going up to League One is one thing but the way the whole city, county and all of the different areas of our supporters the way they have all come together that has been huge for me.

"When I came back to the club that is what I asked for and the support has grown over the time and to get at least 15,000 to go to Wembley. As a football club we are really thankful for it. Now what we have to do is keep it and make it bigger and better and see where it can take us."

Simpson is well aware in the step-up in class between the division Carlisle are exiting and the one they are entering. He stated that the work behind the scenes has already begun.

He said: "The hard work probably started on Sunday night. Myself and Greg Abbott were sitting with a beer discussing what can and what can’t be done.

"I then had to have a meeting on Monday morning to tell them I wasn’t keeping them so I have went from cloud nine to as low as a snakes belly having to make those decisions. It is the nature of the game and I will be working extremely hard.

"We will be trying to make the group as strong as we possibly can to actually be able to stand up to the challenge of league one and make sure we do everything we can to stay in it."

Carlisle United were victorious in the shootout against Stockport County. Credit: PA

Carlisle United released their retained list with the majority of the players currently on the books at Brunton Park being offered new deals. Those to be released by the club include Joel Senior, Tobi Sho-Silva, Jamie Devitt and Brennan Dickenson.

Simpson is hopeful that he has made the right decisions when it comes to players he has kept at the club.

He said: "I had to make decisions on players to think if they could actually take us forward. I think the players I kept have got the chance to keep us moving forward.

"None of the decisions were made for personal reasons, they were all for the sake of the football club. There is no guarantee I have got them right. I hope I have got them all right but only time will tell."

Simpson has made no secret to the positions he is looking to strengthen in throughout the time until the new campaign. Top of his list is another man between the posts.

He said: "The fact there has been a couple of goalkeepers released we have to strengthen in that department. I am looking to bring a number of players in.

"I can’t put a number on it but we are probably close to double figures in terms of new faces that have got to come in to the place. We have already got players in mind that we want. I am quite sure that other clubs will have them in mind and we have to be competitive to make a good offer to them and make it attractive to want to come to us."

Although aiming high in terms of a league finish next season, Simpson is well aware of the challenges his side will face in League One next season. He believes that everyone at the club will have to be realistic going into the new campaign.

He said: "My priority at the start of every season regardless of the level is to stay above the dotted line. Over the next few weeks I will need to look at a points total at what it would take to stay up and what you need for play-offs and automatics.

"We have to be realistic and the first challenge is to make sure we are in League One come the end of it. That alone will be a huge challenge and will be a real big step if we achieve it."

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