Keeper Dan Hanford on clean sheets and debuts
Keeper Dan Hanford spoke to us about his debut, a clean sheet and the importance of a victory earlier this week.
“It does feel great to get my debut under my belt,” he said. “I was excited from the moment I was told I was starting. I rang the old man and then my grand parents so I could tell them and they arranged to get up here to see it. It made it all feel very special.
“I was told it was happening on Friday morning. I think I’ve been ready for it for a while really. The good thing is that it wasn’t just a debut, it was my home debut as well. It was a good chance for people who haven’t seen me before to do that and you just want to show everyone you belong there. Being part of the first win, with a clean sheet, made it even better.”
“The clean sheet was massive for me and the back four,” he confirmed. “It was the gaffer’s first home game so we wanted it for that reason anyway. There was a strange moment early in the game with Danny Grainger but all you can do is laugh it off. If you let it worry you it will affect other parts of your game. You start double thinking and things can get worse.
“It was one of those where it skipped up off the surface and, by the time I realised it was mine, it was too late. We both got up from it fine and that’s what matters. After that incident came the one-on-one save and I felt great when that happened. I think I needed to get a save or a block under my belt, especially after that mix up in the first minute. I was able to take a deep breath and get on with it because things like that build your confidence up.”
“If I’m being honest, I wasn’t nervous going into the game at all,” he told us. “I’m confident and vocal anyway and I think that’s all part of being Welsh. Something like this is more about excitement because I enjoy playing my football. When I got my call up I thought - right, it’s time to do it.
“Tony Caig had a word with me before kick off and he told me to relax and enjoy it. He told me I had nothing to prove and to make sure I didn’t go looking for the ball. He said I should let the game come to me because there was a lot to think about, particularly with my family coming up and with it being my home debut.
“I’m always talking with Mark [Gillespie] as well and he had some good things to say. He wished me all the best. We work well together so this is good competition for both of us.”
“It felt good when I looked back it all on Saturday night,” he commented. “Having said that, I had things I wanted to tweak here and there. I was with my family, and we talked about it, and all they said was that it was a win and clean sheet so I couldn’t really ask for much more. The feedback from the gaffer was all good on the day and he said he was very happy for me with the way it went.”
“I’d like to say it does feel like I’ve put a marker down,” he said. “We don’t have another keeper at the moment so I have to hope we don’t bring anyone in on loan ahead of the weekend. Hopefully I’ll be involved and I can carry on from here.
“I’ve had loads of ups and downs over the years and it’s felt like a long wait, at times, for something like this to happen. It’s been an amazing journey, I wouldn’t change it for anything, and I think I can now say it’s been worth it because the experiences you have make you what you are. The reason I came to this club was because I thought I could push on and push Mark all the way. It’s down to me to show the coaching staff I can do the job consistently now.”
“All you can do when you’re second choice is train as hard as you can and stay as fit as you can,” he explained. “It is hard when you’re not in the team because all any player wants is to play. You don’t want to travel up and down the country just to be sat there for 90 minutes, but you still have a job to do and you have to do it as well as you can.
“This is a good club to be with and I feel comfortable and at home. Carlisle is a small place, but it’s nice. The gaffer has come in and he’s making good, subtle changes. I’m enjoying everything at the moment and obviously playing my first game has helped with that.”
“We all want to take what we did last weekend into the Hartlepool game,” he concluded. “It’s one of our local derbies so I just want be involved and for us to get another three points. Adding a first away win to what we’ve done would do everyone the world of good.”
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