Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Old Boss Is in for a Testing Cup Clash

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Old Boss Is in for a Testing Cup Clash

Article excerpt

PAUL Simpson was the man responsible for prompting the renaissance of Carlisle United, but tonight he is plotting their Carling Cup downfall as the next step along the path of his managerial rehabilitation.

The Shrewsbury manager built a formidable reputation as one of the lower league's brightest coaching talents as he led the Foxes out of a dark period with successive promotions from the Conference to League One before departing under something of a cloud to try his hand in the Championship with Preston North End.

His departure from Cumbria rankled with some fans, who believed the Carlisle-born manager should have shown greater loyalty, but in Simpson's defence the Preston job presented a superb opportunity for him at a higher level.

Simpson hopes the bad feeling has evaporated enough to secure him a good reception from the travelling support tonight, but accepts there may be some mixed feelings as he prepares to face his old team for the first time since leaving Brunton Park. Current Carlisle boss John Ward - who counts Simpson as one of his closest friends in management - has no such reservations ahead of tonight's first-round clash, and believes Shrewsbury pose a serious threat.

"I know Paul very well - I worked with him both at Wolves and at Carlisle when he was here before and I would feel privileged to call him a friend," he said.

"I've got huge respect for Paul and I don't think anyone could argue with the fact that Carlisle United would not be in the position they are in today without him. He did a superb job at Carlisle and I think he's an excellent manager.

"People say it didn't work out for him at Preston for whatever reason, but he started well there and did a very good job in his first season.

"Things might not have gone for him last season but he'll do an excellent job at Shrewsbury, I have no doubt about that.

"I think Shrewsbury and Paul Simpson are made for each other - they are a progressive club with a new stadium who want to go through the leagues and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it happens for them. …

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