Keeper Jack Bonham extended his loan spell through to the end of the season this week having already made 23 appearances for the Blues through the first half of the campaign.
We spoke to him about the move shortly after he’d put pen-to-paper on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s a nice feeling to get it all out of the way,” he said. “The good thing is that I know I can concentrate on my football for the next six months.
“There were a few other options for me to think about, but ultimately I just want to be playing and being here at Carlisle United seems the best fit for that. I’ve been on a good run of playing games and that’s exactly what I wanted.
“I wanted to establish myself here and play as many games as possible. Apart from a few games, where I was out of the team, I’ve really enjoyed being able to play as much as I have.”
As well as playing, he admitted that his strong relationship with the United coaching staff had also played a part in helping him to make the decision to stay at Brunton Park.
“I had a long chat with the manager before the Gillingham game on Tuesday and he outlined again what he expects from me,” he explained. “He told me that he thinks there’s more to come from me, so he wants me to continue to lift my standards.
“He said he thinks I can go on and play in the Championship if I do things properly, and getting games is a big part of that. I definitely feel like I’ve developed as a player through my first six months here.
“I always saw it as a chance to progress myself and being involved in games where the end result is so important has taught me a lot. The other good thing has been working with a group of players who really get on.
“There’s a great team spirit and I’ve settled in now. Hopefully I’ll keep improving and keep showing people what I’m able to do.”
And on his relationship with the fans, he told us: “The support from them has been amazing. I guess it makes it easier for me if people aren’t getting on my back about things and, as I’ve said before, if they can keep supporting us it helps us in games and it will help to drive us forward.
“Having them behind me is a great feeling. This move has become a big part of my career because it’s my first loan move to a league club, and my first opportunity to play regularly at this level. If I do go on to play for the rest of the season that’s something I’ll always be very grateful for.
“When you talk about learning new aspects of the game, there’s been a good rivalry with Shamal [George] from day one and there’s no bitterness at all between us. I had to get used to how it felt when he came into the team and, to be honest, that was a big learning curve for me.
“It was something completely new for me to deal with, but I was good with it and so was he. Whoever is getting the nod, all we can do is keep pushing each other.
“The transition from Simon Tracey to Dan Watson was another new challenge. To be fair, it’s gone quite smoothly, and I know Dan has got my back. He does everything he can to support me and he’s very positive about the things he wants me to do.”
One factor that definitely needed a moment of reflection, before he agreed to extend the loan spell to the end of the current season, was the distance between his home base and Cumbria, which has meant the big stopper has had to spend most of his time in the club house when others have gone home for days off.
“I won’t lie, that has been difficult for me because I am quite family orientated,” he commented. “Chances to get home are very limited, but it’s something I just have to accept.
“I want to put as much as I can into my football and that’s why I stay up here a lot. It’s been hard ... and I’ve got a dog who doesn’t really know who I am any more, but, as I keep saying, it’s my first chance to come somewhere and be part of a team in terms of playing every week.
“That’s why I’m going to put everything I can into it. Brentford are more than happy for me to stay, because they know I’m enjoying it and gaining from it. They spoke about the fact that I had a few other options, but they left it down to me.
“I’m happy here, it’s where I want to be, so they were happy for me to make this decision.”
Looking back at an excellent performance against Gillingham on Tuesday night, he told us: “The win was massive for us. Coming off the back of what happened against Port Vale, we were very disappointed with the result, but we knew we were a lot better than that.
“That’s why it was important to go out and put in a good performance. Getting the win means we have the chance to play against Sheffield Wednesday and that’s another game for us to look forward to.
“It means we’re on a cup run that people are talking about and that gives everyone a lift. We’ve had the underdog scenario a couple of times already but that doesn’t matter to us. We know we’re always in with a chance because of the quality we have in the team.”
“The important thing is that we’re concentrating on the important business we have to deal with through the Christmas period first,” he concluded. “We know that if we can get on a run, and put some wins together, the tide will start turning for us and we’ll be climbing the table.”
Click HERE to watch an interview with Jack Bonham on iFollow United now.