First-team coach Paul Simpson admits he will relish a return to his hometown club Carlisle United, as Derby County and the Cumbrians are set to go head-to-head in the First Round of the Capital One Cup (week commencing August 11).
The draw for the First Round of the competition took place at the Football League headquarters on Tuesday morning and was announced on Sky Sports News at 9:40am, which saw the Rams handed a trip to Brunton Park.
Simpson managed Carlisle to back-to-back promotions in 2005 and 2006 from the Conference to League One and his success caught the eye of then Championship side Preston North End, who appointed him as manager on a three-year deal.
During his tenure at Carlisle, Simpson was also named as the League Two Manager of the Year following the 2005/06 promotion campaign, and the Rams’ first-team coach revealed the forthcoming Cup tie will be the first time he has returned to his hometown Club since his departure in 2006.
He told Rams Player:“When I saw that we were a seeded team and who were in the unseeded section, there was every chance it was going to be one of my ex-clubs.
“I have got to say I am delighted it is Carlisle – apart from the journey, which everybody will give me almighty grief about – it is a great game to look forward to.
“It is my hometown, the team I used to go and watch as a kid - right up until I played for the Manchester City A Team on Saturday mornings, I used to be there every home game with my dad, stood in the Warwick Road End.
“It will be the first time I have been back since I left the Club, so it is a game to look forward to.”
Carlisle finished 22nd in League One last season and were subsequently relegated to League Two, however Simpson has backed former Republic of Ireland international Graham Kavanagh to turn the Cumbrians’ fortunes around.
He added: “They have done really, really well. I left when we had just won League Two and got promoted, but since then the Club have done fantastically well; the managers Neil McDonald, John Ward and Greg Abbot have done really well to stay at League One level.
“They had a couple of seasons early on when they were competing at the top end, but they have fallen away and have been scrapping for relegation. Graham Kavanagh had a really tough job to come into last year – it was his first job in management as well.
"But I thought he handled it very well; unfortunately they didn't stay up, but I am sure he will work as hard as he possibly can to get them out of League Two again.”
Meanwhile, Simpson revealed he was amongst the contenders to replace Greg Abbott at Carlisle earlier in the 2013/14 campaign, before the Club eventually appointed Kavanagh on a permanent basis following a successful caretaker spell.
"I did actually have an interview for it [the vacant Carlisle position], but Graham Kavanagh did a really good job when he was the caretaker," said Simpson.
"When I walked out of Pride Park after I had agreed my contract here as first-team coach, I had a voicemail on my phone from their Chairman to say they had chosen to stick with Graham Kavanagh.
"It was a good day for me in all honesty because I had just got a perfect job, coming here working alongside Steve McClaren.
"But football is like that isn't it? I had waited months for an opportunity to come around and then two came along at the same weekend, but thankfully I have got the one that I really did want."
Watch the full interview with first-team coach Paul Simpson exclusively on Rams Player.