Carlisle United’s manager Paul Simpson has given an explanation to the key absences in his squad against Oxford, in an interview on the club’s official website.
Simpson would see his side fall to defeat a against Oxford United on Saturday, with a second-half Mark Harris strike being enough to separate the two sides. The hosts were in control for long spells of the game, and took their chance following a defensive mix-up from Carlisle.
The Blues really struggled going forward and failed to register a single shot on target in their defeat at the Kassam stadium. Carlisle were without star player Owen Moxon, as well as new signings Sean Maguire and Dylan McGeouch and it was evident that something was missing all game.
Moxon is a rather notable absence, especially given the transfer speculation which has been over his head for the last couple of weeks. There was further speculation on the reason for the 25-year-old not travelling with the squad on twitter, however in an interview on the club’s website, Simpson has put his absence down to sickness.
“Mox had a bit of lunch, it was the second bit of food he’d had, and he started being sick again in the afternoon. That’s why we kept him out of it.
“I think he’s a lot better today from what Chris Brunskill (Physio) has told me. He’s got another two or three days before the next game.
“With him not feeling right yesterday we just said stay at home and you’ve got a couple of days to get yourself back eating again and get a bit more energy into you, and hopefully he’ll be ok for Tuesday.
“There’s nothing else in it, everybody tries to put two and two together and come up with five.”
The Blues haven’t got off to the best start to life in the third tier, drawing with Fleetwood on the opening weekend before losing to Harrogate in the EFL cup prior to their loss to Oxford on Saturday. Moxon is the only player to have scored for the Cumbrians so far this season and the forward ranks are something that needs to be addressed. That being said, Sean Maguire, who was signed from Coventry earlier in the window was also missing from the squad.
Speaking on Maguire’s omission from the squad, Simpson said:
“Sean Maguire called me late afternoon on Friday to say he’d had a difficult family issue that he’s had to stay behind for,” he continued. “He then spoke to me later in the night and said he was going to get the train first thing in the morning and get into Oxford for about 11am.
“Then about an hour later he called again and said something’s taken another bit of a turn and I’m going to have to stay. I hope everything’s ok with him because family is definitely more important than football.
With Carlisle failing to register a single shot on target on Saturday, Simpson will be hoping that Maguire will have the desired effect when he does return to the squad. However the striker wasn’t the only new signing to be absent, with midfielder Dylan McGeouch also missing.
Forest Green Rovers’ Player of the Year last season supposedly suffered a minor injury in Carlisle’s loss to Harrogate on Tuesday night. Simpson has stated that although not serious, the situation is being monitored carefully.
“We’re waiting to see on Dylan. He took a corner and felt a twinge in his hamstring. The symptoms are very good from testing on Friday, we’re going to see how he is over the weekend, he may come back in to do some work on Tuesday, he might train with the rest of the group.”
Following on from a lacklustre performance on Saturday, Simpson will be hoping for Moxon and Maguire’s return for their clash against Wigan on Tuesday. The Cumbrians will be looking for their first three points of the season as they adjust to life in the third tier, but will have to be at their best to get past a strong Wigan side.
Having been at the game on Saturday, it was fairly easy to see that something was missing. Without Moxon’s creativity, Carlisle created very few chances and with no shots on target in the game, Maguire may also return straight to the starting eleven when he joins back with the squad. Simpson being very transparent on the absences will put fans mind at rest, especially in Moxon’s case. I just hope we can keep hold of him, as yesterday showcased just how important he is to the club currently.