Second part of our Liam Noble interview
Midfielder Liam Noble admitted today that he'd found last season to be tough on a personal level as the team struggled to find consistency in results through what was a stop-start campaign.
“Last season was probably my hardest as a professional footballer so far,” he said.
“In my first season here we did well in the league and in the second season we won the JPT, so last year was definitely the hardest.
“We had key players out at important times, which didn’t help, and we couldn't seem to put a run of results together. I just think it got tougher and tougher for us to get out of that cycle.”
“I think the important thing for me was that my own form picked up towards the end of the season,” he told us. “The team really pulled together, because we knew we had to battle in every game, and I started playing well off the back of that.
“It’s possible that with so many players being out of contract people were maybe playing for themselves rather than for the team, but once that stopped we all seemed to click.”
One of the big challenges set down by the coaching staff for the all-action play maker ahead of last season’s kick off was to develop a better understanding of the different roles he was required to fill.
“I think I've learned the game a lot more,” he told us. “I've worked a lot with Greg [Abbott] and Kav [Graham Kavanagh] on fitting in to different systems.
“Hopefully by doing that it means that it won’t really matter if we play a two or a three in midfield – I should be better placed to be part of it.”
“I started 33 games and came off the bench in seven, which isn’t bad, but I still want to be playing every week,” he insisted.
“It felt like I was playing for a couple of games then being left out for four or five, which is really frustrating, because all I want is to be out there on the pitch.
“When I'm not in the team I work even harder in training because not playing every week is horrible. It was nice to get to 100 appearances during last season and it makes it extra special that they're all for Carlisle United.
“I must be doing something right to get to that milestone while I'm 22 and hopefully I can keep that going through next season.”
One thing we can guarantee from a very attack-minded player is at least one entry in the annual goal of the season shake-up.
“I love scoring goals,” he said. “I think my best this time were the one I scored against Oldham and the one against Doncaster.
“We really needed a result in the Oldham game and I set one up for Jordan [Mustoe] as well, so that was a good game for me. The second goal against Doncaster was a good one because that was another big result for us.
“I always want to get into double figures and this year I have set myself a target of 12. If I get that it probably means I’ve been picked every week, so it’s something to really aim for.”
“It's a big year for me because my contract runs out at the end of the season,” he concluded. “All I can do is play to my potential to hopefully earn myself another one.
“After that it's out of my hands, so I just need to hope that the gaffer and the coaching staff want me to stay.
“When I'm out on the pitch that’s the last thing I think about, though, and all I'll be focused on is getting the three points on that day.”
for part one of this interview.