Millen's first goal as Carlisle boss is to beat Cobblers

'That will be my aim first of all – to try and make us as solid as possible.'
Keith Millen.Keith Millen.
Keith Millen.

Keith Millen’s first target as Carlisle United manager is to pick up all three points at Sixfields this weekend.

The 55-year-old will take charge of his first game against the Cobblers on Saturday after being confirmed as Chris Beech’s replacement earlier this week.

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Carlisle have endured a rotten start to the season, winning just one of their last 12, and are only outside the Sky Bet League Two relegation zone by a single point.

“Our first goal is to try and win on Saturday and I’ve already said that to the players,” said Millen in his first interview as Cumbrians boss.

“I told them that their mindset has to be to win the next game and that’s all they have to worry about.

“Whatever we do in terms of training and our preparation, it will all be done to try and win on Saturday.

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“If we win, great. If we don’t, we will look at what could have been better and then it’s onto the next game.

“The beauty is that we have 30-odd games left so there’s no talk of any relegation fight or anything like that.

“Let’s see how many games we can win and let’s see where it takes us.”

Saturday’s game at Sixfields could be a cagey one if Millen stays true to his word.

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The former Bristol City and MK Dons coach will first turn his focus on making Carlisle stronger at the back, which might mean a key role for ex-Cobblers defender Rod McDonald.

“I will be a different voice and it will be a different way of working,” Millen added. “I know the way I work is successful and hopefully the players buy into it.

“We have to find a way of playing that wins football matches.

“If you look at our record, we’ve conceded too many and we’re not scoring enough and that’s not a good recipe.

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“I have learned from some top managers that when things aren’t going well, you work on the defence first and try and find a defensive structure that keeps you in the game.

“So even if you’re not playing well, it’s still 0-0 and a set-piece or something might win you the game, so that will be my aim first of all – to try and make us as solid as possible.”

Millen will only have a couple of days with his new squad before travelling down to Sixfields.

“It’s not ideal,” he admitted. “Having two days to prepare them for a game is difficult, so on my way up here I was thinking about the fact that I now have to prioritise everything I need to do.

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“Too much information in two days and the lads will go out there and they won’t know what’s going on. I need to sit down with Gavin [Skelton] and the staff and see what they’ve done so far this week.

“It might just be a case of tweaking a few things because if we can get some sort of result on Saturday then we’ve got a free week leading up to the cup game which will be a good period where I can really get to work with them.”