Keeper Mark Gillespie on finishing the season on a highKeeper Mark Gillespie confirmed this week that securing a play-off place is very much top of the agenda as the squad looks to put the recent poor run of results behind them and end the season on a high.
“It’s been a difficult run of results for us and, for myself, I’ve played every game and I’ve seen both sides of the coin, with the good and the bad we’ve done,” he told us. “You’ve got to take the criticism when it comes because we got a lot of plaudits for what we were doing at the start of the season.
“We’re determined to turn it round and we know we’ve got to do everything we can to finish as high as we can come the end of the season.”
Looking back at the weekend home game against Notts County, he said: “I was really disappointed with both of the goals I conceded. We were winning the game and I thought I was doing well on a personal level. I was coping with everything they threw at us but we then had a mix up between me and Bris [Shaun Brisley] where the communication just wasn’t there, or it certainly wasn’t clear enough.
“That obviously cost us and the second goal is just one of those things. They happen to you now and again but it’s even more disappointing from my point of view because it cost us the game. I have to take that on the chin.
“It’s one I’ll look at, because technically there are things I could have done differently, but being honest it’s the kind of thing you save 99 times out of 100. It’s something I’ve got to live with and I now have to react positively going into the last five games to make sure I make it up to the team.”
A player who prides himself on his performance levels, he admitted that he’s the last person you would want to be with if things haven’t gone his way in a game.
“I’m not really someone you want to be around if I feel I’m at fault, to be honest,” he told us. “I suppose you have to put a bit of an act on and try to get through it when you’re with your friends and family, but it does eat you up inside.
“As soon as you get back into work you have to put it out of your mind and I’m just desperate to put it right now. As a keeper you have to have thick skin and you have to be able to deal with setbacks.
“That’s something I’m learning about all the time and this is a situation I have to deal with in the best way I can, especially with it all happening in the last few minutes and with it costing us the points. I’ll go through it with Simon Tracey, take what I can from it and make sure I move on positively.”
Friday afternoon at Hartlepool is the next opportunity for the team to start to cement a place in the play-off places and it also brings a return to the stadium where United’s current longest serving player made his full first team debut.
“It’s a fixture to look forward to for a few reasons for me,” he commented. “It’s one the fans always look forward to and it’s a local game for me as well. It’s where I made my full league debut and I’ve got really good memories of that as well, with a 2-1 win, and it would be good if we could repeat some of our recent results from over there this weekend.
“We’re going there to get a result because we’ve worked so hard to get to get to where we are and we don’t it to fall away now. There’ll be over a thousand United fans there and it’s games like this which everybody should want to be involved in. Hopefully we’ll do things properly and make it a great day out for all of us.”
Part of the preparation for the big game was a Tuesday afternoon open training session, with close to 400 United fans there to watch the lads go through their paces.
“It’s always nice to be part of open days like this,” he said. “The one we have at the start of the season is always a big success, so it’s good to be doing one during the Easter holiday as well. It’s good for the club and the fans and it’s good to see another great turnout.
“The lads enjoy stuff like this and it’s nice to see so many young people with Carlisle tops on. It’s about the future of the club, and the way these things are organised and received is definitely something everyone can be proud of.
“Obviously people talk to us as we walk round and the message is the same from everyone. Promotion is something we’re all striving for and it’s good to see so many of the fans are behind us. It’s something we can use as motivation as we go into these five big games.”