Defender Gary Liddle made appearance number 100 for the Blues on Wednesday afternoon having made the move to Cumbria two winter transfer windows ago.
The versatile and experienced player, still only 32, is motoring towards a significant career landmark, with 600 appearances well within his sights, but he made this latest achievement extra special with his first goal for the club at Brunton Park when he chested home a pinpoint cross from Hallam Hope to round off an excellent 6-0 Boxing Day victory over Oldham.
Speaking about his milestone, he said: “I didn’t know I was at the 100 point until I was told the other day, but I’m happy with the achievement. It’s come around just on two years so to play 100 games in that period of time is something not many players get to do.
“It’s something I’ve become accustomed to over my career, and I’m proud of it. Topping off the landmark with a goal is good, because it doesn’t happen for me too often. The manner of the score line allowed me to get forward and to get on the end of the cross, and I’m not sure I’d have been there at all if things were tighter in the game. I made the run and I found myself with a tap-in from about 10 centimetres out, but I’ll take it.”
“Normally if I made a run like that I’d have people on the sidelines shouting me back, but I actually had Tommy [Wright] shouting at me to go for it,” he explained. “Hallam had a few assists on the day and he picked me out nicely. I couldn’t really miss.
“I don’t score many but I can always look back at my career knowing I’ve scored for every club I’ve been at. That’s why it was nice to get a goal at home here.
“A player can finish a career at 36 and 37 and if he’s played over 500 games it’s classed as being a good one. To have surpassed that at 32 is something I’m massively proud of. Touch wood I can stay injury free and continue to play as many games as I can. Hopefully I’ll be on the winning side for Carlisle United as many times as I can as well.”
On the team performance against Oldham, he said: “Overall I thought we could have played better with the football, but we were very clinical again.
2That’s 13 in three games now so it’s nice to be putting away the chances we create. I’m just happy that we’ve won and the clean sheet means just as much as the goal, with me being a defender. The clean sheets are important for the team.
“What we’re trying to do is build a bit of a solid foundation, and we seem to have found a winning formula that we can go out and win games with. Defensively at the moment I have Naders in front of me, and he won’t mind me saying it’s not his favourite position.
“He’s doing a terrific job out there and if I was a left back I wouldn’t like to play against him. It’s a lot more running than he’d probably like to do and it’s up to him to nudge Jerry Yates out of the way if he wants to be the central striker. That’s the competition we have, with some very good players also waiting to get involved from the bench.
“The front five seem to have the freedom to get around the pitch and the rest of us look after the defensive side. It’s a very flexible formation, we’ve had three, four or five at the back, depending on the opposition, and everyone knows their jobs.
“When you pick up a couple of results the confidence runs through everyone, but we want to carry that on. It’s no good winning a few then losing a few, we need to keep it going.”
And with the fans cheering almost every pass as United dominated and attacked with purpose, he said: “It hasn’t happened too many times, certainly not since I’ve been here, and it’s what we’ve wanted to create since the first day of the season. We want the fans to enjoy coming to watch us.
“We’ve had some very difficult results here over the first half of the season, but we’ve found a bit of consistency now. It hasn’t come easily, we’ve had to work hard, and it hasn’t always been pretty. Confidence is there as well now and that comes if you’re winning games.
“We want to have a real go this year and the results we’ve just had mean we’re looking up again. It doesn’t matter whether we do it playing ole football or by doing the nitty gritty. Whatever’s needed, we need to do it to keep the points coming.
“It’s a big second half of the season coming up for us now. We won’t win every game, that’s the league we’re in, but we’re in a good place and it’s up to us to add to it. It’s a very close-knit group of lads and bringing a bit of success to this club is something we want to do.”
With Macclesfield next up on Saturday, he said: “You only get a new manager when things aren’t going too well, so Sol Campbell has come in and he’s got them picking up good results.
“They’ll have a different style of play from last time we played them, but we’ll do our homework and we’ll be going out to make it four wins in a row.”
With the manager commenting during his post-match interview that he is continuing to create a more and more demanding environment as each day goes by, he told us: “Every manager is different. Keith [Curle] was often quiet on the side line, but John is quite the opposite.
“He’s very verbal in what he wants to get across. Players tend to take it in different ways, but ultimately you play for the badge and you work as hard as you can. If you do that, you’ll get the results, there’s no doubt about that. That’s what we’re looking to do.”
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