Defender Clint Hill has more than played his part in the current run of good results as part of a defence which has tightened up and provided the platform needed for the team to kick on and into their unbeaten five-game spell.
We spoke to him about the levels of confidence within the squad as they prepare for the visit of Crawley on Saturday afternoon.
“We’ve been striving for consistency for a few months now,” he said. “We’d been getting one or two results and then having a dip, so to go on a four or five game unbeaten run is exactly what we needed to get up the table.
“We were stuck around the twelfth and thirteenth position for a long, long time and it was very frustrating. When you look at other teams who build momentum, with five or six games unbeaten, that’s when you start to jump up five or six positions. That’s where we find ourselves at the moment.”
With the recent results coming off the back of some very solid defensive displays, he said: “It’s been a great team effort. We’re finding ways to win at the moment, and that’s important. I don’t think the pitches are allowing us to play an attractive brand of football, which we’d like to do, but we’re adapting to that and we’re getting results.
“We’re doing ok and we’re strong on the ball, and we’re creating chances when we go forward, so there are a lot of positives.”
“We’ve got a good mixture of youth and experience at the back as well, which is good,” he added. “Teams I’ve been involved with who tend to do well have had a good mixture like that.
“We certainly have a lot of experience right through the team, and that’s vital. The younger side of it, with exuberance and pace, is always welcome as well. When you look at the lads who are waiting to get involved, it gives good competition.
“You need that in any squad, so we must be doing ok if we’re keeping the likes of James Brown and Danny Grainger out of the team.
“The lads who have the shirt now are doing a job. We know if we aren’t doing that there are others behind us who will come in and, who knows, that’s when you find yourself out of the team for five or six games.”
With the unbeaten run now at a healthy five games the confidence within the squad is visibly high, with the team expecting to pick up points every time they take to the pitch.
“The key is not to get over-confident,” he told us. “I know it’s hard at times, because you want to enjoy the moment, and rightly so, but you have to do that when the whistle goes, and maybe for an hour or two after the game.
“It’s a boring cliché but you have to start looking at the next game as quickly as you can. You’re only ever as good as your last game, so you’ve got to build and prepare in the best way you can to give you the best chance of carrying things on.
“What we’ve had in the dressing room is a quiet belief in ourselves. We’ve always felt we could make a late little charge, but you’re obviously depending on a few results to go your way as well.
“The belief is there but it’s like anything in life, a bit of confidence here and there makes everything seem a lot easier. Hopefully that continues and, if it does, the better things will be come the end of the season.”
Next up for the Cumbrians are home games against Crawley and Cambridge as the end of season run-in starts to really gather pace.
“Being at home gives us a great chance, but they are two very tough games,” he insisted. “Crawley have been on a good run and Cambridge are a powerful team as well. It’s up to us now, it’s in our hands, and that’s all we could ask for at this stage of the season.
“We didn’t want it to peter out and become a boring season, so these are two big games for us. If we can get maximum points you just don’t know where it can take you. Winning games breeds its own confidence and that’s the way it is for us at the moment.
“Everyone is coming in with a smile on their face, but we’ve got to keep working hard and make sure we keep doing the things which have got us points. It’s quite easy to sit on your laurels and expect it to happen, but that isn’t how it works. Whatever league you’re in, you have to make it happen.”
Looking ahead to next season, and with the recent announcements of triggered contracts, we wondered if he’d had to time to think about what his next step will be once the campaign comes to a close.
“It’s not something I’ve thought about, to be honest,” he said. “There are still nine games to go and it’s well known that the club have made their feelings known with everybody, straight across the board.
“We’ll deal with that side of things when it needs to be dealt with. We can pick it up in a few months and hopefully we’ll all have smiles on our faces, and who knows what that will bring.
“Whatever the decision, it’s been great. I said it when I came here, the feeling you get about a place is vital. This has always been a welcoming place and I’ve enjoyed being here. It’s a big club and everyone behind the scenes has been superb. Let’s deal with whatever happens next in May.”
Click HERE to watch an interview with Clint Hill on iFollow United now.