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INTERVIEW: The lads are bouncing

Danny Grainger on the victory over Mansfield

8 January 2019

We caught up with club captain Danny Grainger shortly after full-time on Saturday to get his thoughts on a sixth win on the bounce.

“We’re going well at the moment,” he said. “The momentum is with us, we’re playing with confidence and that’s showing with the results we’re getting on the pitch.

"It’s fantastic to be involved in a team on this kind of run because you’re enjoying every moment of being out there."

“We’ve gone into games knowing they’re going to be tough but we’ve ground out results when we maybe haven’t been playing our best," he added. "I think we're showing what we're capable of.

"We move the ball well and we’ve been clinical when we needed to be. We’re disappointed with the two goals we conceded, but overall we’re delighted that we’re playing as well as we are."

“It’s hard to put into words what it feels like to be captain of this club when we’re playing like we are," he admitted. "The lads are bouncing, there’s a good vibe in the dressing room and all we want to do now is keep the momentum going.

"We’ll enjoy it, but we won’t get too high and we’ll make sure we don’t get ahead of ourselves. We’ll just keep working hard and the results will follow.

“We’re scoring goals on the counter-attack and there’s a belief and trust there within the lads to do that. There’s a bit of freedom, and there's a real togetherness amongst the lads in the dressing room, which we’ve shown in the last few games.

"If someone makes a mistake everyone tries to help their mate out and do whatever we can to make sure it doesn’t end up in the back of our net. It’s about us trusting each other because sometimes you have to take a risk to get the reward at the end."

On his return to the role on the left wing, he commented: "I think I played a few games on the left wing in the early Keith Curle days.

"I can remember playing out there during the floods when we played Notts County at Preston. Usually when you get older you go backwards, but for some reason I seem to be going the other way!

"I've said it before but I'll play anywhere for this team and this club, as long as we get a positive result at the end of it. It shows a lot of belief from the coaching staff that I can do that because I haven't played there for a while."

“We went through a sticky patch earlier in the season but we’ve hit form at a great time," he continued. "I’ve said it before, but January transfer windows can really define your season. If you can get through the window with your best players in tact and add a couple, then you’re always going to be in with a chance.

“When you’re on a run like this you want to keep as many players together as you can. Nads [Ashley Nadesan] has been fantastic, and Adam Campbell was a great lad even though he wasn’t involved as much as he would have liked, he’s been a big part of the dressing room and he’s a fantastic character.

"We aren't sure what will happen with Gez [Anthony Gerrard], and with Jerry Yates going back people might have looked at it and thought we might struggle, but Hallam [Hope] has done fantastically up there and he’s scored his goals again to really kill off the game."  

And on the shock departure of manager John Sheridan 24 hours before kick off, he said: “Managers come and go, and players come and go, but the main thing is that we go out there and represent the club in the right way. I think every player has done that fantastically well.

"I think finding out that the manager was leaving after training on Friday could have been an excuse for us, but the lads have handled themselves really well. They’ve made sure they’ve gone on that pitch and made sure they represented Carlisle United in the way that the fans and the club have deserved.

"We're in the play-off positions, we'd won five in five when he made his decision, and we're at the top end of League Two. To hear that the manager had decided to drop down a division to go into a relegation battle was a bit of a shock to myself, but everybody is different.

"John had real good ties with Chesterfield and sometimes it can be hard to turn down things like that. Coming from my perspective, it would always be hard for me to turn down something at this club if it was ever thrown my way. Everyone has ties at different clubs, and whether the ties he had with Chesterfield meant the opportunity was too much for him to turn down, I don't know. 

“There’s no player or manager bigger than this football club and I think we show that with how we move on. The boys have conducted themselves fantastically since the news came out.

"A lot of things have been said on social media, and a lot of untruths are flying around, but I think we’ve handled ourselves with a lot of professionalism. This sort of situation can be difficult for younger lads who maybe haven’t experienced anything like this before, but I think with the way we’re playing it’s all about getting on the pitch and enjoying playing football."

“Rumours will always be flying around, that’s part and parcel of the game," he added. "There’s never been any physical things that have gone on between me and the manager. There have been times where we’ve had disagreements, but they are also part and parcel of football.

"Throughout my career I’ve had managers throw me against the wall, it’s just something you get on with, but that isn't the case in this situation. I know people are talking about things which happened on Boxing Day, but we’ve won three games since then, so it can’t have affected us that much.

"I've always been quite outspoken but I've never said anything that was disrespectful to any manager I've worked with. I've had manager's screaming in my face, but it's always been professional. Like I said, there were times we didn't agree, but it was always done in a professional manner from my point of view. 

“I’ve never been one to want to get involved with anything away from the football pitch, I’m fully committed to this club and all I want is Carlisle United to go forward. I’ll do anything I can to make sure that happens in the future."

Ahead of the trip to Northampton, which will see United face on eof their former managers, he said: “It will be nice to see Keith [Curle] next week. He came in and made me captain straight away and I’ve got a good relationship with him.

"He came in and made a lot of changes at the club, but I was one of the ones who didn’t get shipped out. I wished him luck in the summer when he moved on, and something he said to me was that he’d enjoyed our journey together and he hoped I’d enjoyed it as well, which I did.

"I still speak to Westy [Colin West] and Dan Watson as well, so it'll be good to see them all, but as long as we come away with three points that’s all I’m bothered about."

And he confirmed that it's just as interesting for the players as it is for the fans as we wait to see what will happen with the vacant manager's position.

“Everyone will hear the rumours about the next manager but it’s something we’ll just put to the back of our minds," he told us. "We’ll see different names mentioned and things like that, but I think the lads have shown a real professional approach, because a lot of teams use things like this as an excuse.

"We could have looked at it and said we didn’t know what was going on and we were against an in-form team, but we went out there and put a real good performance in.

"We said in the summer that the managerial appointment was important, and it's the same again now. It isn't down to whether it's an experienced man, a local man, or whether he's with the club already, it's about being right for the job and it being right for Carlisle United. 

"Whether it's Tommy [Wright] and Muzz [Paul Murray], or whether it's an experienced guy coming in, it's about it being the right person for the job. It's all about making sure that the appointment is right, and I'm sure the guys above will think about it long and hard."

"I'll help in whatever manner I need to help for this football club," said. "It's no secret that I want to go into management and coaching, and I'm enjoying playing at the moment, but if the guys from above asked me to be part of a coaching staff then I would obviously jump at the opportunity.

"Things are going well on the pitch at the moment, so it's just a case of concentrating on that and seeing what the future holds, because you never know what can happen."

Back to on-the-field matters, and with club now in fifth spot as 2019 comes into its own, he told us: “I’ve said from day one that I’d love to have some success with this club.

"If I can be part of something like that with Carlisle United it would top anything I’ve ever done. I’ve been quite lucky and I’ve done some special things in my career, but to be able to lead my hometown team to some success would definitely top anything I’ve done before."

“We’re just taking each game as it comes," he concluded. "There's still a long way to go in the season. We’ve got a big week ahead of us in terms of players and whatever gets done behind the scenes with that.

"We know it will be tough going down to Northampton, and we know what Keith is like, he gets his teams fired up for games and he’ll be more motivated for this one than any other."

Click HERE to watch an interview with Danny Grainger on iFollow United now.

Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.

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