We caught up with midfielder Luke Joyce this week to talk about the current run of form, which has seen the team climb to within just three points of the play-off places, and also about his recent career milestone of 450 appearances at the tender age of just 30-years-old.
“It feels good to be on a run like this, but I think it’s long overdue,” he said. “One of our downfalls earlier in the season was that we weren’t being consistent enough. We seem to have found that consistency with clean sheets and with finding ways to win games.
“It’s great for the lads when you’re on a run like this and it’s shot us up the table a little bit. We’re on the edge of the play-offs, so long may this continue. Hopefully we’ll keep building on it.
“If you think back, four games ago it was doom and gloom, but here we are now. That’s football for you. It’s a crazy game and in the space of a few weeks you can be high, or you can be low.
“What you have to do is keep a level head and not get too high when you’re enjoying the good times, and make sure you don’t get too low with the disappointments and defeats. We’ve had four wins on the bounce, and everything is going well, so we want to keep that going.”
Having been through some frustrating spells this season, where results were more difficult to come by, he insisted that the belief in the dressing room in what the squad could achieve had never faltered.
“It has to be that way,” he commented. “We’re a good team with good players, and all teams will go through ups and downs. You hit good form and bad form, and through it all you have to keep believing and working hard.
“On any given day any team can beat any other, so it comes down to finding the consistency and ability to keep grinding the results out. We’ve won this run of games, but we know we haven’t been brilliant.
“It hasn’t been scintillating football by any means, but we’re finding a way to get results. In League Two you need that as part of your armoury.”
For a player who is up there as a favourite amongst the fans at Brunton Park, he hit a significant career milestone when he made appearance number 450 in the 1-0 home victory over Crewe Alexandra midway through January.
“It is something I’m proud of,” he admitted. “I know I’m not the biggest or the quickest, and I’m not necessarily the greatest footballer to have ever graced League Two, but I work hard and I try to do my job the best I can.
“When it gets to kick off on a Saturday or a Tuesday I try to put my all into it and I do what I can for the team. I remember starting out as a young kid and people kept telling me just to aim to play as many games as possible.
“I had a lecturer at Preston College, when I was doing my YTS, and he loved his football. He kept telling us that you couldn’t class yourself as a proper footballer until you’d played 250 games – I’m past that now, so maybe I can finally call myself a footballer. I’ve loved it and hopefully there’s many more to come.
“It is a bit weird that I came here all those years ago and that I’ve come back here to hit a milestone like this. I’ve been back with the club for another three years already, and hopefully that’ll be longer.
“I think I only played 20 or so games during my first time here, but I’m well into three figures with Carlisle now and it’s a club I enjoy being with.”
As for the advice he would give to any young players who are setting out along the same career path, he said: “You do need ability, that helps you along the way, but it’s having the attitude that you need to work hard and have the dedication and commitment to continually do the best you can.
“You have to have the will to succeed and you have to want it as much, if not more, than the people you’re playing against. Other than that, keep your head down, work hard and keep believing in yourself.
“A big part of it for me is that I love coming to work every day. I enjoy training and it’s fantastic to play out there in front of people. There’s no better feeling than winning on a Saturday and it’s just a brilliant job to do.
“You’re living the dream in many ways and when the day does come that I can’t do it any more, for whatever reason, I know I’ll miss it massively.”
Looking ahead to the weekend, he told us: “Exeter on Saturday will be a tough game. We know all about them and it’s a big game for us.
“It’s an opportunity to take points off a team who are above us. What happened in the play-offs last season has been and gone now, but I’m sure the lads who were there can tap into it.
“It was a real disappointment for us in that second leg game, but there are a lot of new lads in the changing room who weren’t there that day. I’m sure they’ll read things from now until Saturday, so they’ll know about it, but it’s a different season and different circumstances. It’s just another game we want to go and win.
“We’ve given ourselves a great chance and it’s down to us to keep going. We know we’ve got the lads in the changing room to make this a successful end to the season, so if we can keep the form going for the next ten games we’ll just have to see where we end up.”
Click HERE to watch an interview with Luke Joyce on iFollow United now.