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INTERVIEW: It's another game of football and it's one we want to win

Luke Joyce on 150 appearances and the Emirates FA Cup second round meeting

30 November 2017

Midfielder Luke Joyce on 150 appearances for the Blues

Midfielder Luke Joyce made appearance number 150 for Carlisle United against Morecambe last Saturday with the majority of those coming in this, his second spell with the club, having returned to Cumbria two summers ago.

The 30-year-old has 120 outings for the Blues under his belt this time round, with his goal against Crawley one of the stand-out moments as he remains a near ever-present in the side.

“150 appearances is a nice thing to tick off,” he admitted. “I know Danny Grainger did the same at Luton recently and it is good to reach that milestone.

“Obviously it means I’ve been playing a lot of games over the past few seasons, added to the games I had in my previous spell here. Hopefully I’ll be adding many more this season.”

“One of the big reasons why I came back here when I did is because it’s a club I enjoy being at,” he added. “I believe we can be successful here and I like the surroundings, and the club itself. It’s a good place to be.

“The lads all want success for the club and in every game we play we want to win and do well. We’ve got a great fan base behind us, a great management team and excellent staff. The club is set up to be successful and hopefully we’ll have a good festive period and a strong finish to the season.”

But what are his fondest memories from his time with the Blues?

“I’ll always remember my debut,” he said. “I came on against Yeovil in League One, all those years ago, and I’d say my first goal for the club was also a special moment. That was actually against Gillingham and I think we beat them 5-1.

“More recently there’s the Liverpool game and the play-offs last season, and obviously the goal I got against Crawley. That’ll probably be the best goal of my career! There have been quite a few highlights, but it’s just good to play for a club like Carlisle United anyway, with the level of support we have. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

“The main reason why I came here is because I want to be part of a successful club. It’s built for higher than League Two and we know with the squad we have, and the quality of the players, it would be a crime not to have as strong a season as we did last year this time round.”

With the FA Cup second round meeting on the near horizon, we wondered if confidence could be taken from the fact the club has lost just one of its last seven league outings.

“We’ve had quite a few draws where we feel we could have won, and that’s been frustrating,” he told us. “If you look over the last ten games - the likes of Notts County, Wycombe and Morecambe at the weekend - we’ve taken the lead and been in strong positions. When you’re at home you want to make the most of that and go on to take the three points.

“I know it’s ifs and buts but if you could add six points from those three draws onto our total we’d be in a much healthier position. We’re in mid-table right now and we aren’t too far off the play-offs. If we can flip what happened last season and finish strongly it will mean that it’s been a good one.”

Next up for the Blues is that trip to League One Gillingham at the weekend.

“It’s another game of football and it’s one we want to win,” he insisted. “It’ll be tough going to Gillingham because they’re a League One team and they’re hard to beat at the moment.

“The pressure will be on them and it’s one we can look forward to because we’ll be pitting our wits against a side who will give us a good test.

“The prize at the end of it is to be in the third-round draw and we know from recent seasons what that can mean. We’ll be dong everything we can to make sure we’re involved. It’s a brilliant competition and you want to go as far as you can in it, because it would be great for us to go up against one of the big teams again.”

With United going into the game as the underdogs we wondered if that would put any pressure on either side ahead of what is building up to be an interesting encounter.

“We’ve shown good form away from home and we’ve done well against teams above us in the pyramid recently,” he commented. “We’ve already beaten Oldham in the first round and they were on a really good run of results at the time. If we can start well on Saturday there’s no reason why we can’t get the win.

“It doesn’t really matter who goes into it as the favourite. It’s about who does what on the day. If you prepare well, which we will, it’s then about the 90 minutes and anything can happen.”

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