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INTERVIEW: I know how much this club means to people

22 April 2016

Mark Gillespie on foundations in place for another positive season

Keeper Mark Gillespie has notched up 47 appearances in all competitions this season taking his grand total in his six seasons as a professional with the club to 125 - and all this at the relatively young goalkeeping age of 24. 

With still another year to serve on his current contract, and having been with the club since he was 16-years-old, he admitted that he would like nothing more than for the foundations put in place this season to lead to something bigger and better in the next campaign.

“It would mean a heck of a lot to me to be involved in a promotion season here,” he said. “That would be fantastic because we’ve had some tough times recently. I know how much this club means to the people here, and to the city, so I’ll continue to strive towards helping us to achieve that.

“I’ve enjoyed this season overall. It’s been a relief after the last couple of seasons to stay fit. I’ve felt really good physically and I think I’m on target to have played 50 games if things go well.

“It’s been a big positive for me to stay on the pitch because that’s what I’m here to do. I’ve enjoyed my football and it’s been good to be part of a positive season. We haven’t quite made the play-offs but it’s still been good for us.

“We’ve had some big games with the likes of Anfield, QPR and Everton and we’ve had some really strong performances home and away. Some decent money has been brought into the club and that’s important for Carlisle United. I think we can be proud of that as players.”

“Working with Simon Tracey has been really enjoyable,” he told us. “He takes me through the way I’ve played after each game in great detail. I’ve learned a lot from him and it’ll be good to carry that on next season.”

Speaking about Tuesday night’s defeat at the hands of Luton, he said: “It was a disappointing result and performance. We’ve been saying since Christmas that our target was the play-offs but that looks unlikely for us now. 

“There are still three games to go so we’re going to give it everything and get as many points as we can as we look to finish the season on a positive note. It’s been a long season for everyone but it’s difficult to say why it was a flat performance. 

“If we knew the reason we wouldn’t have lost the game. I thought we picked things up a bit in the second half and we had a couple of chances, but two soft goals conceded left us in a difficult position to come back from. 

“We’ve done it on a lot of occasions this season but we just couldn’t quite manage it on Tuesday. Now we have to bounce back as well as we can on Saturday.”

“I don’t think we’ll look to make too many excuses for the performance not being as good as we wanted it to be,” he said. “We get looked after and we’ve got quite a big squad, so I don’t think we can point at tiredness or fatigue too much. 

“Things haven’t quite clicked for us for whatever reason over the last six weeks or so and that’s also been disappointing. There have been a lot of positives over the course of the year and we’ve come a long way from the end of last season, that’s for sure.

“We’ve won more than we’ve lost and we’ve been in the top half of the table for the vast majority of it. That’s a step forward so we’ll dust ourselves down and make sure we keep pushing on.”

“It isn’t over yet, we have three games to go, and that means there’s nine points on the board to play for,” he commented. “If we can finish the season with 70 points then that will be a positive as well. I think what you have to look at is progress and we’ve definitely had that. People will look at negatives from the last few weeks and we’ll take that on the chin. 

“Things are obviously still a bit raw from Tuesday but when we look back we know that run of nine games in 30 days could have gone one way or the other for us. We probably drew too many of them and we gave ourselves too much to do in the end.

“The important thing is that there are plenty of positives from what we’ve done and we’ve seen players have good individual seasons. On top of that we’ve come a long way as a team as well. That’s something for us to look at as we go into the last three games and into next season.” 

“Our main focus at the moment is on those three games,” he added. “There are eleven places up for grabs for each of them and that means you have to impress during the training sessions. 
“The manager and the coaching staff will be looking at the players to see if they’re showing what they can do so we know we can’t ease off in any way.”

On the trip to Crawley, he said: “It’s a long trip but we’re used to that. It’s another game and we’re looking forward to getting on with it. As I say, we let ourselves down on Tuesday night, but we gave a good account of ourselves at Cambridge, and we’ll be looking to do the same again. 

“When we played them up here I thought it was one of the really strong performances of the season. We were flying at the time and we played well. I think it’ll be tougher down there but we do want to finish the season as high up the table as we can.

“If we can pick up some wins it will take a good feeling into the summer for the fans and the players. It’s nice to look back at a season where you finish in the top half because it does give you confidence. I know personally I’m focused on the next three games and on keeping clean sheets, and I’m sure that’s the same for the other lads as well.”

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