Mark Gillespie and Alexander McQueen on their day at Cassius Camps
First team players Mark Gillespie and Alexander McQueen took time out of their recovery period, following a gruelling fitness session at Cassius Camps, to talk to us about what they felt they were getting out of a day of pushing the limits on the banks of Lake Windermere.
Speaking about their first mid-morning test, which included tyre flipping, sand bag runs, log lifts and hay bail press-ups, keeper Gillespie said: “That was very difficult and definitely the hardest thing I’ve done so far.
“If it wasn’t for my team mates helping me I think I’d have found it really hard. At one point I thought I was going to quit, but everyone shouted me on and thankfully I managed to do it in the end.”
“They [the Cassius instructors] showed us through the exercises but I honestly didn’t think I had anything left by the time I reached the third one. Once I got through that I knew I could do it and it felt really rewarding to get over the finish line. I actually felt refreshed near the end but, to be totally honest, I was completely gone at that tough stage in the middle of it.”
“It’s been a great experience for us,” he told us. “It's brought us into a totally different environment to work with different people, and the lads have responded really well. Hopefully we’ll get a lot out of it.
“Looking at the bigger picture, we’re going to come under different types of challenges, where we’ll need each other, all the way through the season. I think things like this will stand us in good stead.
“It’s the type of thing where you learn quite a lot about yourself. You get people helping you while you’re doing it and you can then help them, because you know what they’re going through.
“Situations like this can only ever bring people closer together, so it’s excellent for all of us.”
And new arrival Alexander McQueen echoed those thoughts.
“That was definitely the hardest thing I’ve done so far,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll see the rewards for it when the games come.
“It’s good that we’re all working together because that’s what needs to happen through the 90 minutes of every game. It’s also about how the individual performs, and about how much you can boost yourself and push yourself to be better. If you do that you’re stronger as a team anyway.”
“I like a challenge but I didn’t have a clue what to expect from this package,” he continued. “I knew it was going to be hard because pre-season has been that way so far. This is definitely a different kind of hard, but I can see where the benefits of it will come from.
“It’s about finding that little bit extra because I was struggling in that last set of exercises. The only way to get through is to find more. It’s nice when the rest of team is pushing you on as well. I haven’t been with Carlisle for long at the moment but I really do feel part of it all. Things like this make settling in easier.”
On the games against Bradford, Preston and Oldham coming up, he said: “I’m looking forward to them because that’s where I love to be – out on the pitch.
“Hopefully I’ll get some minutes against Bradford on Saturday and we’ll be looking for another clean sheet as well. It’s all geared towards Mansfield Town and on being part of the team as much as possible, so we’re all doing what we can to make that happen.”
And we couldn’t let him go without a comment on his unusual squad number choice of 44.
“The number 44 is a special family ritual,” he explained. “I thought I’d like to keep it going and it’s good that I’ve been allowed to do that."
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