Forward Omari Patrick became United’s last January signing with just over an hour left until the deadline day window shut, following what had been a hectic and dramatic day for the former-Bradford City player.
A move which culminated with him meeting up with head coach Chris Beech at the team hotel ahead of the Mansfield away game on Friday night eventually led to an 18-month deal and a permanent switch to Cumbria.
Having warmed up with the squad on Saturday, ahead of kick off, he made his first appearance in a blue shirt in the Central League Cup game against Fleetwood at Frenchfield Park on Tuesday afternoon.
Speaking after the game, in which he scored an impressive first half goal, he said: “It was nice to get back out there because it’s been a while since I played my last game for Wrexham.
“It was probably about three or four weeks ago now, so it was good to get 80 minutes under my belt and I just want to start kicking on from here.
“It’s always nice to score, no matter what game it is, so I’m just glad I had the opportunity to do that. It felt good so I really wanted to celebrate, but I had to hold it in and hopefully I can celebrate a goal for the first team on Saturday, if I can get into the team.”
“Games like this really help because you aren’t just thrown straight into a first team game, you can get to know how people play,” he added. “It was good to play with some of the young lads as well and be able to give them bits of advice and things like that.
“It helps to just get to know everyone, the young lads as well as the first team lads, and the coaches as well. It was good to watch the game at Mansfield, Bradford actually played them the week before and lost 3-0 so I was buzzing when I saw that equaliser go in from JJ [Josh Kayode].
“The lads showed really good fight and kept going until the end, and that’s something I really want to be a part of. The boys have been really welcoming, which is nice, because I’ve been to places before where it hasn’t been like that.
“I knew a few of the lads from before which always helps. I know Fela [Olufela Olomola], and Nat Knight-Percival and Callum Guy from Bradford, so that always helps.”
Looking back to what had been a made few hours on deadline day, he commented: “It was a couple of days before deadline day when I first found out about the interest, but it was getting blocked for some reason.
“I was just glad to get it done in the end. I got told to go and meet the gaffer at the team hotel in Mansfield late on Friday night, so I just got straight in my car.
“My head has stopped spinning finally and I’m just looking forward to really getting settled in. I’ve been looking at places to live with my girlfriend, which is exciting, and I think it will be good once that’s sorted so we can move up here and really get settled into the place.”
And with it being a permanent switch he confirmed that it’s a new challenge he’s very much looking forward to.
“I’m happy it’s a permanent deal rather than a loan because it gives me time to get used to everything,” he said. “With a loan until the end of the season you sometimes don’t have enough time to work with the gaffer and get used to the style of play, and things like that.
“I obviously want to get on the pitch and go and score ten goals or whatever as quickly as possible, but it’s good to know in my head that I’ve got a certain amount of time to get settled in. I was really happy to get the permanent move because of that.
“To know that the gaffer wanted me around for 18 months was nice, and I read the things he said about me when I signed, and they were good, and I’m looking forward to him working with me so that I can continue to improve.”
And speaking more about the challenge ahead, he told us: “The gaffer wants me to show a lot of fight, he wants me to improve my strengths and work on other parts of my game, and he’s going to work with me to do that.
“He obviously wants me to hit the back of the net as much as I can, whether I’m playing on the wing or up top. I’m not an out-and-out striker but I can do a job there, as I did against Fleetwood.
“As long as I’m on the pitch and attacking I don’t really mind where I play, but I like playing on the left so I can cut in and the fans will see a lot of pace from me, which will hopefully bring exciting football.
“I think the club made eight signings in January so I know I’ve got to work hard to get into the team. Competition is always healthy, Josh Kayode is doing very well and hopefully I can play with him, but we’ve got a lot of good players in the forward positions.
“Nathan Thomas scored a hat-trick the other day, Harry McKirdy has scored goals, and even Fela has scored goals, so there is plenty of competition and I’m looking forward to it.”
Having come to the club at a time when results are on a positive turn, he also confirmed that it feels like a good place to be having experienced a first team game and a reserve game.
“The spirit from the gaffer, the lads and even the young lads who I played with has been really good,” he told us. “It’s something that’s obviously happening through the whole club which is really good to see.
“It was similar when I went to Wrexham, I think we were bottom of the table when I went there but there was still a real fight and spirit within the club, and they’re climbing up the table now. We aren’t in as bad as position as that, but you can see the fight the boys have got and I think we’ll be fine.
“My time at Wrexham was very useful in many ways. It was good to just get some game time into the legs, and I was playing as a striker, which I wasn’t very used to. The National League is a tough league, so it was good for me to be the man up top and get some good experience doing that role while I was there.
“I learned a lot, and I scored goals, so it opened my mind to different positions and gave me confidence in myself because I now know I can do it.”
Next up at the weekend is the visit of table-topping Swindon and the opportunity for the new arrival to make his first senior appearance for the club.
“It’s exciting, I’m looking forward to hopefully making my home debut,” he said. “We know if we get a result against the team at the top of the league it will be massive for us, and we know anybody can beat anybody in this league.
“I think we’ll all have seen stranger things happen in football if we do get the win on Saturday, you just never know what could happen, particularly if we play like we have been.”
With every first interview it’s pretty much become accepted by the likeable front man that he’ll face questions about his gold medal winning father Adrian (part of England’s 4x400m metres relay winning quartet in the Commonwealth Games held in British Columbia, Canada, in 1994) and his godfather, who also won a few medals here and there, Linford Christie.
“I’m obviously from a family with strong athletics connections and I did join an athletics club when I was really young,” he told us. “I did enjoy it, but as soon as I got a ball at my feet that was all I wanted to do.
“My dad was a 400m runner, so I gave that a go and it was the only race I ever lost, so I told him I wasn’t doing that ever again! I just concentrated on football after that. My dad didn’t mind, I think he quite likes the glory he’s got, so I’ll just take the glory side for football in the family!”
And a link with the extended Carlisle United family was revealed when he explained that former-Blues boss Greg Abbott had played a big part in taking him from Barnsley to Bradford back in 2017.
“Greg was a big part of me going to Bradford,” he said. “I was at Barnsley U23s before that, but Greg actually wanted to sign me before I went there.
“I decided to go to Barnsley but Greg kept an eye on how I was doing, and in the end I signed for Bradford on the same day I got released from Barnsley a year later.
“Greg was a big part in my career, and it was nice to walk into Brunton Park and see his pictures on the wall, it put a big smile on my face. I haven’t spoken to him too much lately, but I might give him a ring and get some advice off him about this club.”
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