Why Simpson expects 'different challenge' for Blues against Curle's Hartlepool

Paul Simpson and Keith Curle (photos: Barbara Abbott / PA) <i>(Image: PA)</i>
Paul Simpson and Keith Curle (photos: Barbara Abbott / PA) (Image: PA)

Carlisle United boss Paul Simpson admits Hartlepool United will be a different proposition because of Keith Curle’s early impact.

The former Blues boss is unbeaten in three games since taking interim charge of the struggling Monkey Hangers.

Carlisle head to the Suit Direct Stadium hoping to extend their own unbeaten run to eight league games and make further progress towards the play-off places.

But Simpson says Pools’ improvement under his former Wolves team-mate Curle sets up a tough encounter in the north east.

“It’s a different challenge to what it would have been,” said Simpson.

“I don’t know what he’s done differently but he’s obviously got a reaction from the players, which he does – he’s got a good track record of that.

READ MORE: Major injury boost for Blues ahead of Hartlepool trip

“I watched their game against Doncaster on Tuesday [a 2-1 home win] and he knows how to set teams up to get results, Keith.

“Although they’re still in the bottom places, they’ll go into this game buzzing because they’ve now had that first win.

“There were spells when it looked like Doncaster were going to be the stronger side, and certainly towards the end looked like the side who might get that winning goal, but [Hartlepool] kept going, kept fighting right to the end and had the desire to go and win it.

“It’s going to be a tough game. We have to match their enthusiasm and desire, and then hope our ability comes through and we show what we’re all about.

“We’ve just got to make sure we’re right. We’re going into it with one defeat, unbeaten in seven, and we have to make sure after Saturday we’re still unbeaten in eight and preferably with another three points under our belts

“We’ve got to make sure their good run comes to an end with the way we go about our performance.”

Carlisle have failed to win or even score in three meetings with Curle teams – Northampton Town and Oldham Athletic – since his departure from United in 2018 after nearly four years in charge.

He was drafted in by Pools last month after the sacking of Paul Hartley following a poor start to the campaign.

Simpson, speaking more about United’s 20th-placed opponents, added: “They’ve got a striker in Josh Umerah banging goals in, and they’ve got some good individual players.

“Tom Crawford is a goof technical player, Clark Oduor is a good player, Callum Cooke is a creative sport of player.

“They have defenders in Alex Lacey and Rollin Menayese who like to defend.

“They’ve got the nucleus of a good side, and I think the spirit Keith has added to, and some sort of organisation and style, makes them hard to play against.

“They’ve drawn six games, so it’s not that they’ve lost loads of games, they just haven’t won enough.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re right at it straight from the first whistle to get a foothold in the game.”