Captain Danny Grainger at the Junior Blue Christmas partyWe caught up with club captain Danny Grainger as he joined the Junior Blues at their Christmas party in the Neil Sports Centre.
“It makes a huge difference when the players turn up for this kind of thing because it makes it even more fun for the kinds,” he said. “The work John Halpin and his team do to get this kind of thing on is fantastic and it’s the kind of thing the children will remember for years to come.
“I think we all enjoy it because we like to put as much back into the community as we can. It’s a superb effort from everyone at the club to make sure the kids have such a good day.”
Looking ahead to the festive run of three games in eight days, he said: “It’s an important period because it’s this time of year which goes on to determine what your season is going to be about.
“We’ve got a tough set of games coming up but we’re looking at them with a lot of confidence. I thought the way we played in the first half on Saturday was fantastic and Yeovil couldn’t get near us.
“Obviously the early goal in the second half gave them a lift, which put us on edge a little bit, but it shows what we’ve got in the dressing room that we stood up to it, rose to the challenge and came away with the three points.”
When quizzed about the stunning Shaun Brisley goal, he joked: “That was a clearance! He’s not getting that as a shot on goal, no way.
“It’s one of those where it’s fantastic for him to get his first goal for the club - and what a way to do it. I think Luke Joyce was the only person to be disappointed because there’s a good chance he’s just lost his Goal-of-the-Season title.”
Speaking about having to miss out through injury at the weekend, he said: “I get really frustrated when I can’t play. Dolly [Neil Dalton] is going to face a few days where he’ll be getting his ears nipped by me but I’m sure he’s ready for that.
“I’m gutted whenever I miss any games but we’ll see how it goes and hopefully I’ll be back sooner rather than later. I’ll work hard with Dolly to get through it and he’s told me just to make sure I’m ready to go as far as working hard goes this week.
“Along with Lee Fearn he’ll make sure I’m in top shape and I’ll be back as quickly as I can be. I want that to be very soon so I can continue to help us all to push on and over the line.”
Good news came two weeks ago for the popular left back when manager Keith Curle revealed that talks about a new contract, set to kick in when his current deal expires at the end of this season, had already taken place.
“It’s no secret that I’m happy and that I love it here,” he confirmed. “My family is settled in the area and I’m really enjoying my football. I’m buzzing that the gaffer has already started the contract talks and hopefully that will all be concluded quickly.
“When it is all that will be left for me to concentrate on is making sure Carlisle United get promoted this year. It is a pat on the back for what I’ve been doing from the manager and it’s something I really appreciate.
“I’ve just come back from a weekend away with all of the lads and I was talking to Mark Gillespie about the fact that it is only me, him and Patrick Brough who are the ones left from when the manager first took over.
“That shows we’ve all worked hard to be in that position and it’s great that he’s stuck by us, shown a lot of faith in us and rewarded us time and time again. Just on that weekend away I mentioned, I haven’t laughed as much as that on a Christmas night out in a long time.
“It’s this sort of thing which can really push a team forward. It isn’t just a case of how good the players are it’s how well everyone gets on away from the pitch. Hand on heart, this is a fantastic dressing room and we see each other through.
“We know we’ll go through some hard times and we could hit a period where things aren’t going as well for us, but we know the lads will all be round each other and making sure we’re pushing each other on.”