We spoke to defender Gary Liddle ahead of training on Monday as the lads prepare for two home games at Brunton Park on the back of the first win of the season at Cheltenham.
“I think there’s always a bit of relief when you get the first win,” he admitted. “It’s always important to get your first one as soon as possible. When it doesn’t come in the first couple of games then people on the outside can start talking about bad early season form.
"It was nice to get it, especially away from home which is always more difficult, and we just want more of the same now. The game probably wasn’t one for the neutral, but we created plenty of chances and we probably could have made it a lot more comfortable, which I know the manager mentioned after the match as well.
"That’s Carlisle isn’t it, we seem to make things as difficult for ourselves as we can, but the most important thing was the three points. That gives us a bit of confidence now as we go into two home games."
“It felt like we were under the cosh a little bit in the last 15 minutes or so of the game," he admitted. "Benno [Richie Bennett] and Jerry Yates had chances at the end which would have put it to bed for us, but those types of game are what happen in this league.
"Everyone can beat everyone and there will be times in each game where each team will have a spell of pressure. For them it came in that last 15 minutes, but we stood strong and defended really well.
“The most important thing to come out of it from our side in terms of defenders and the goalkeeper was the clean sheet. It was a real team effort because it’s very difficult to win away from home no matter what league you’re in.
"I think we were the only team in our league on Saturday to get three points away from home as well. We had a decent away record last season and we want to keep that going. It was at home where we tended to slip up last season, so we want to change that this year. If we can do that and keep our away form then we won’t be far away."
“The football we’ve been playing has been good to be involved in," he continued. "We’ve got some young lads who have come in and been relatively unknown, but they’ve all done well. Hallam [Hope] has started the season in good form, Benno has already got a couple of goals, so we know we’re always going to create chances.
“It’s keeping it out at the other end which we’ve had to sort out, especially in the first couple of games. In the Blackburn game, although we created plenty of chances ourselves, we still conceded five goals which is a difficult one to take, no matter who you’re playing against. We knew we needed to make sure we were solid as a back line in the Cheltenham game and I thought we were."
“Before the game at Cheltenham we said if we could get the three points it would set us up nicely for the two home games we’ve got this week," he said. "We didn’t go to Cheltenham for a draw, the line up that the manager put out was certainly very attacking.
"It won’t be often you’ll see Jamie Devitt in a two-man midfield with a bit of responsibility! He did well and the lads all worked hard, and if we can get two good results in the home games this week we’ll be in a strong position.”
On the right-sided partnership with Jerry Yates, he told us: “Jerry is a good player to play behind. He works hard, probably too hard if I’m honest!
"I was constantly telling him to conserve his energy a little bit because he’s 100mph all of the time, but he’s brilliant. He had a couple of chances on Saturday, and hopefully he’ll continue to build on the start that he’s had.
“I should maybe listen to my own advice and conserve my energy, but I do like to get up and down the pitch and help in attack, if I can. I don’t mind the right-back role, I’d prefer to be in the middle, but we’ve got a small squad so there will be plenty of changes that the manager will have to make, as we saw with Kelvin [Etuhu] playing there last week.
"I played right-back a few times last season under Keith, and if I’m not going to play at centre back I’d certainly rather play at right-back than be on the bench. I’m happy to help out wherever I’m needed, and it’s good that we’ve got a few players in the squad who can play in different positions."
“Even though we’ve got a small squad there is plenty of competition for places," he added. "You need to be on your metal in every training session and every game. As clichéd as it is, you need to train how you play because there will always be someone who wants your shirt.
"It’s a really competitive squad and we certainly drive each other on every day."
With a new management team now in place, we wondered how much things had changed over the last few motnhs.
“Every manager and set of coaching staff are different, but they’ve come in and it’s gone well," he told us. "I knew Muzza from playing with him at Hartlepool, but all of the staff have come in and been great.
"I think they wanted the first win as much as we did, and hopefully we can get a few more of them on the board now.
“The fans have been great with us all, home and away, so far this season. The away fans have had two long trips already, but we’ve taken good numbers to both and we can’t thank them enough for that. We were happy to send them home happy on Saturday."
Next on the agenda is the visit of Port Vale on Tuesday nigth [kick off 7.45pm].
“Port Vale are a solid League Two club," he said. "They recruited quite a few players in the summer and they’ve had a decent start.
"It will be a tough game, as every game is in this league, and we know we’ll need to be on our game to get anything out of it.
“Their squad obviously includes an old face in Joycey [Luke Joyce] who we’ll see coming back. I actually spoke to him this morning and he’s looking forward to it.
"I told him we’ll roll out the red carpet for him because he’s a bit of a Carlisle legend. He was great for this club but I think he’s thoroughly enjoying his time down there.
"He’ll be coming here wanting to win tomorrow and we’ll need to make sure he doesn’t.”
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