Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about tomorrow’s meeting with Crewe Alexandra at his Friday afternoon press conference.
“The cup game on Tuesday will be a distraction, but not until full time on Saturday night,” he said. “The good thing is that the focus from the group is completely on the Crewe game. The attitude from the players has been excellent.
“They know they did a credible job against Sheffield Wednesday and the large majority of the supporters went home feeling happy. They’d watched their team give a good account of themselves and it was a game that we stayed in and grew in to. It’s set us up nicely to take that level of performance into another important league game.”
“We have a lot of respect for Crewe and the players they have,” he added. “I’ve signed a couple of them before and I know the manager really well. I signed him twice when he was a player and he’s a really good, bright young manager.
“One thing I do know, with the characteristics they have, is that the manner of the defeat in our last meeting with them won’t have been forgotten by them. They’ll use that as motivation and they’ll be looking to reverse it and to get a good result against us.
“We’re aware of that and we also know that going into this weekend with an air of confidence about the fact that we beat them 5-0 is a dangerous thing to do. Things went our way on that day but we can't that for granted.
“We were ahead at half time but it could easily have been 1-1 on chances created. We were rampant, and we took our chances in the second half, and it became an enjoyable afternoon because things were going our way.”
“It won’t be the same again,” he told us. “I don’t think they’ll come and play an open 4-4-2 formation. We don’t change our preparation and the detail and information is always given to the group.
"We know how we think they’ll give us problems and we know where we think we can exploit them.”
Speaking more about the individual targets set for players within games, he commented: “The players go into games now with targets and Key Performance Indicators we ask them to achieve and, if we get individuals hitting their targets, it then adds to the team performance overall.
“If they’re hitting their KPIs is shows us that they’re on top of their game. Within that there will always be room for people to express themselves, in the right areas and at the right times.”
And on the return of defender Michael Raynes to Brunton Park, he said: “Michael has strengths and he has frailties, but that’s the same for any player. He’s a character we brought into the club when we needed him and I thought he did an exceptional job for us.
“He gave us strength and a backbone, and he gave us willingness and desire on the pitch. I enjoyed working with him and I know he had a day against us that he wasn’t happy with earlier in the season, but I think he had a lot of days with Carlisle United that he can be proud of.”
With both sides looking for a run of victories to set them on their way, he said: “The inconsistency is what makes League Two football so attractive. I don’t think anyone would have predicted that Port Vale would beat Luton 4-0, but results like that are pleasing for the division.
“Anything can happen in this division because there is a level of inconsistency which is what you get from League Two players. You could say that the level of inconsistency is consistent. For us, we feel that the play-offs are still an achievable target, because we still haven’t fulfilled our potential individually or collectively.
“We can all name games where we could have had three points, but we need to turn those ‘ifs’ and ‘ands’ into results. We’ve had our own level of inconsistency in results and that’s something we’re not happy about. We’ve missed some good opportunities and we’ve let in some silly goals, but we’re working hard to make sure we win more games than we lose or draw.”