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INTERVIEW: He said what I wanted to hear

23 May 2015

More from Luke Joyce on signing for United

In the second part of this interview Luke Joyce looks back at his first spell at United and ahead to meeting his new team mates when the group get back together for pre-season training.

"I was sent out on loan during my last six months at the club last time and I think that did me the world of good," he said. "My experiences at Barrow and Northwich were great because I'd never played Conference football. 

"People can look down on it but it's very tough and I learned a lot. I had a great time at Barrow and we had a really good run in the FA Cup." 

"I then came back to Carlisle and it was clear I wasn't really in Greg Abbott's plans. Andy Preece took me to Northwich and I can honestly say I really enjoyed it. Simon Grand was there at the time and I think we were pretty much relegated already, but to go there and play football was important. 

"I think Northwich was where Accrington watched me play so it gave me my opportunity to show them what I could do." 

"I didn't have a fantastic three years at Carlisle if we're being completely honest," he admitted. "I loved it at the club but I wasn't breaking any records out on the pitch, or anything like that. 

"For the fans to still appreciate what I did up here means a lot. After we played Carlisle at Accrington it would have been easy for the fans to all leave because of the result, or give me a bit of abuse, but the reception I got from them as I walked off the pitch was unbelievable. 

"It sums up what people are like up here for me and I'm looking forward to getting as many minutes on the pitch as I can and to helping the club be successful for them."

Looking ahead to fixture release day in the middle of June, he said: "It wouldn't surprise me if we got Accrington away on the first day of next season! 

"You just never know, but I'll obviously be looking for that one first. I don't know if I'll enjoy it or if I'm looking forward to it really. I'm sure I'll enjoy it, but there's no doubt it will be a tough game."

And on his return to a place he knows well, he said: "I know the environment and I know the city. My wife knows the place and we've still got friends who live up there. 

"I know Dolly [Neil Dalton] really well and I saw Dave [Mitchell] the groundsman and Jenny [Anderson] who works in the shop when I was up on Monday. When we last played at Carlisle I saw Bill [Dowthwaite], who works in the car park, and everyone is really welcoming. 

"Things like that make it easier because you aren't coming into an environment where you don't know anyone at all.

"I don't really know many of the players but I've obviously played against a lot of them in the past. It will be a different experience for me walking into a new changing room but I won't be going into it totally blind. Like I say, I know how the club works and I'm sure I'll settle quickly."

"Keith didn't have to say a great deal to sell the move to me," he told us. "Everything he said about what he wants me to do for the team, and how he wants us to play, was what I wanted to hear. 

"It's a decision which was easy to make in terms of joining a club like Carlisle, but a hard one to leave a club like Accrington where I've had such a successful six years."

"Accrington offered me a three year deal and they were desperate for me to stay, which I really appreciated," he added. "I had the potential of going on to get a testimonial there, which would have meant a lot, and that was another reason why I might have tried to stay.

"With all of that on the table I still feel this is the right move for me and for my career. It's a two year deal and if I play so many games in the second year it becomes a third year. To have that level of security is great.

"The challenge we've had at Accrington ever since I got there has, first and foremost, been to make sure the club stays in the Football League. Over the last few years we've had a good enough squad to do better than that, and the club seems to survive every year which is great.

"At a club like Carlisle you have got to have serious ambitions to be at the top end of the table. I'd love for us to do that and I want to play my part in it. We won League Two last time I was here but, as I say, I didn't get involved as much as I wanted to. Seeing and being part of the celebrations was amazing and I think it's something we can aim for again."

Having taken the first step of getting the finer details of the contract agreed, the next step will be when the lads get back together for pre-season at the end of next month.

"I'm really looking forward to getting started," he said. "I'm looking forward to my holiday but it will be in the back of my mind to make sure I'm in tip-top condition when we come back. That's when the hard work starts.

"I always keep myself in good nick so I don't mind the running. I do quite well with it because part of my game is getting up and down the pitch. You have to be fit to do that. I think every player knows that you have to come back fit rather than expect to be given time to get fit. 

"It's up to me to establish myself here in the way I managed to do it with Accrington. Pre-season will be the first part of that process. It would be nice to build up that type of relationship, where you belong and feel part of the club. It felt like I was loved at Accrington and it would be great to be loved again at Carlisle.

"It will feel like I'm coming home. It's probably one of the only other League Two clubs I would have left Accrington for. It was such a hard decision to leave but to be coming back to somewhere like Carlisle is going to be nice. I'm looking forward to the new challenge and to making a lot of new friends, as well as seeing a few of the familiar faces."

Click HERE for part one of this interview.  

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