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INTERVIEW: We have a great set of lads here

12 July 2016

Mark Gillespie on the fun day and pre-season so far

We spoke to goalkeeper Mark Gillespie following the open training session at our Community Fun Day on Sunday.

"It's fantastic to see so many people here," he told us. "It seems to get bigger and better every year. It brings everyone together and it's great to see all the kids with their Carlisle tops on. The day always gets you excited for the future of the club and the start of the season.

"It was nice to see so many young faces there as well. The kids all got to take a penalty and I think they enjoyed it. They got to join in with the first team which is fantastic. 

"It gets us closer to them so when they come and see us on a Saturday they know who the players are. That can only be good for everyone involved."

"I always enjoy being involved in the community projects because you can see it making a difference," he explained. "When I warm up on a Saturday the kids who have been given free tickets walk around the pitch and it's good to recognise the faces from when you've been into their school during the week. 

"They're always excited and asking for photos so it just shows that it does actually make a difference when you take the time to go out and see them. I've been here a long time now so I like to be able to give something back to the area."

Speaking about the pre-season programme so far, he said: "I feel really good. I feel as fit as I've ever been and I really feel like I've got the injuries out of my system now. 

"I'm coming into this off the back of a full year of playing, which has helped me massively. I'm feeling confident and I'm really enjoying things."

Having worked beside two trial keepers already since his return to work, he said: "We've had a couple of trialists keepers in and the manager has made no secret about the fact that he's going to bring someone in who will be ready to play and push me. 

"I would expect nothing less, but I've said before I don't think I particularly need to be pushed by anyone because I'm very focused. I want to do the best I can for the club and drive my own standards up. Whoever comes in, I'll be ready to fight for my place."

The squad heads into Lancashire this week for more team bonding and he admitted that he was looking forward to the trip.

"We have a great set of lads here," he said. "The new boys have already fitted in really well but it gives us another good chance to get to know each other. 

"We'll all be staying together and eating together, along with the hard work we'll be putting in on the training pitch, so it should all bode well for the rest of the season.

"We gave ourselves a good platform to build on last season and I think this is a big year. It's got that sort of feel about it. Hopefully we can be positive and get off to a good start." 

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