Danny Grainger on scoring in six consecutive gamesWe spoke to club captain Danny Grainger shortly after full time on Wednesday night after he equalled a club record of scoring in six consecutive games.
“We’ve shown everybody what we’re about again,” he said. “I think it was another good performance, especially in the first half. We can move the ball well and their strikers weren’t really sure which way to go, which is a compliment.
"We are playing some good stuff but we know we can do the other side of it as well. We can work hard and we knew that would be what we needed to do in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
“They weren’t going to come out and put in the same type of performance they'd had before the break. We knew they’d come out and have a right go at us. They got the early goal which gave them a bit of a lift.
"We changed the shape a bit and they got to grips with it quicker than we wanted them to. The boys reacted fantastically and showed great character to go and kill the game off late on. It was fantastic to see Cameron [Salkeld] getting his goal and Holty [Jordan Holt] getting the assist."
“It’s unbelievable that we’ve broken another club record of eight consecutive wins," he admitted. "Confidence just keeps growing. We aren’t looking to slow down and the hard work on the training pitch is there every day. We come in and work hard, the manager puts us through our paces, he’s got his team behind him and Dolly and Lee Fearn are there to monitor fitness levels. If lads need topped up they get topped up, and if some lads need a little bit of a rest they’re getting it.
“We’re still working hard and we know we haven’t achieved anything close to what we want to achieve this season yet. We want to make sure we get promoted because we want to be up in League One.
“At the moment we expect to go out and get a result every single week. We know it might not happen, but we know there’s enough in that dressing room that if we can’t play our way through teams we can certainly battle our way through."
On his own performances this season, which have seen him patrol the full length of the left flank, he said: “I like adding the attacking threat to my game. I think the relationship me and Nicky Adams are starting to build up down that side is working well.
"We’re getting used to each other’s game and getting to know when to give each other the ball, and things like that. I’m loving playing with him down that side and I think the partnership we're building is starting to lift my game again as well."
Speaking about his assist for the first goal of the night, he said: “Joe [McKee] has come in tonight and done fantastic. He’s been chomping at the bit to get his chance and he’s played well and won the man of the match award which I think shows the strength in depth we’ve got in the squad.
"It’s great to score yourself but it’s just as satisfying to put one on a plate for someone else."
His penalty strike just before half time, of course, took him level with a club scoring record which isn't to be sniffed at.
“I’m getting a bit of stick in the dressing room for scoring in the last six games I’ve played," he revealed. "Joycey [Luke Joyce] keeps telling me penalties shouldn’t count but we can’t all score 35 yard goals from open play like him!
"I’m delighted to equal that record. I think everybody knows what it means to me to play for the club. To equal records like that - it does give me a sense of pride, but the most important thing for me is to make sure Carlisle United get promoted this season.
“When I was walking up to take the penalty Joycey did say ‘go and get your record’ so he was putting a bit of pressure on me. The manager puts a lot of trust in me with the penalties and I’m confident when I step up. It’s nice that we’re getting a few this season and I’m more than happy to step up and take them.
“I’ve equalled my best scoring record for a season, which was seven I got last year. I’m delighted to be hitting the back of the net but first and foremost as long as the club gets three points I’m more than happy.
“To have equalled the record of scoring in six games in a row is a proud moment. I’m proud to play for the club, it is special for me. I’ll be shooting from everywhere at Newport - I might have to try a shot straight from kick off! In all seriousness, I’ll just be focused on going down there and helping the team get the win.”
United came through Group D in top spot but the team captain acknowledged that the competition still has work to do as attendances across the country continue to struggle.
“We know there’s been a stand against the way the Trophy has been handled this season and I can understand why," he said. "There are rules that are meant to benefit young English players, but they can still play first team players when we aren’t allowed to play any of our youngsters.
"Sometimes you can’t understand the reasoning, but it’s a competitive match and there's a big chance to get to Wembley this season. Momentum is a massive thing and we’re going into every single game, whether it’s in the league, the FA Cup or the Checkatrade Trophy, making sure we put in the performance we need.
“I know the fans were dead against the group stages and the U21 teams coming into the competition but we’re past that now and it would be good to see the fans coming through the door again. They’re massive for us and if they get behind us, especially at Brunton Park, it's something special for us."
“When I first came to the club it was tough, there was a lot of negativity around the place," he added. "We’d just been relegated and we didn’t get off to the start we wanted. Even when the manager first came in there was negativity, but it’s slowly turned round and it is massive when the fans get behind us because they do make a difference.
"If they can get behind us in this competition there’s no reason why we can’t go a long way in it."
On the appearances of youth team players Cameron Salkeld and Jordan Holt, he said: “All you can say to Jordan and Cameron is congratulations and keep doing what you’re doing.
"They’re catching the eye of the manager and they’re doing the right things with Edmo [Darren Edmondson] and Dave Wilkes, which is why they’re getting the reward of coming in with us.
"The youth team are playing well at the moment and those two lads have been singled out to come and get their chance in the first team. There’s a lot of competition for places so it was good to see those two come in and do well."
Ahead of the trip to Newport on Saturday, he said: “Newport will be a different sort of challenge because we’re the scalp in the league. It won’t be a nice game where we play loads of football. It could be down to getting it forward and battering our way through until we get the chance to make sure we come back up the road with three points.
“It’s crazy to think the last time we didn’t win was at Doncaster, but it isn’t just about what happens on the pitch. Anybody who sees us training will see how hard we work and how intense it is every day. There’s no way we can step back and I think that shows with the performances we’re putting in."