When confirmation of the news that midfielder Josh Dixon had suffered a second ACL injury came through last July, the club moved quickly to show their support for the talented playmaker when he was immediately offered a new deal, which keeps him at the club until the end of June 2021 at the very least.
The offer was quickly accepted, removing any uncertainty about the player’s future, and the rehab process began with a real focus on working as hard as possible to make a first team start a reality.
“I thought it was amazing when the club did that,” he said. “It was such a great feeling because I’ve been here for 11 years now, so to start at the club as a nine-year-old and get to where I am now is a dream come true.
“It’s the club I support and that’s another reason why I want to be out there wearing the shirt. It just means so much to me.
“Getting that type of support at a time when it felt like my whole world had caved in put everything in a different light, and it made me even more determined to repay the faith that had been shown in me by getting fit and by pushing for a place in the team.
“I knew that wasn’t going to be a quick thing, but it meant I had time to do things properly, and that’s been massive. When we announced that I’d signed the deal the reaction was fantastic again from the fans, and I just want to do my best for them as well.”
“One of the other big things that has kept me going personally was the way I played against Hibs last pre-season,” he told us. “I know that’s the level I can get to, and I want to be doing it every week.
“The only way to achieve that is to stay positive, do the work and get back onto the training pitch with the rest of the lads.
“It’s an obvious thing to say but the best way to say thank you for the help and support I’ve had from everybody is to be out on the pitch, playing and doing well in front of them all. I want to be stronger and better than I was when this happened, and that’s where my motivation comes from."
“Having been through it before has made it easier,” he confirmed. “I know where I should be at different stages and I know that the advice the medical staff at the club are giving is there for a reason, even when I think I should be doing more.
“I think I’ve been a better patient for Dolly this time because I know he has the bigger picture in mind, however good I think I’m feeling. Having said that, it isn’t easy to train on your own. Not so much now, during the lockdown, but when the lads were training normally I don’t think I ever got used to watching them head out of the door.
“I don’t think that’s something you'll ever enjoy as an injured player, to be fair.”
And with a new manager coming into the club just before Christmas, he said: “The gaffer has been brilliant. He’s kept in touch constantly and I know he’s there if I need to ask him anything.
“The thing is, I know he hasn’t seen me play at all, and that means I’ve got a lot to prove to him when I do get back. There’s only me who can do that, and that’s another reason why I’m working as hard as I can at everything I’m told to do. I need him to see what I can produce.
“Gav [Skelton] has been brilliant because he’s worked with me for a few years now, and he knows what I’m about, so I just hope I can get back to my best quickly. I’m just the same as any other player, all I want is to be out there and playing games.
“Pulling the Carlisle shirt on will mean the world to me. I’ve seen Jarrad, Taylor, Liam and Josh do it recently, and that was brilliant to watch because I know how hard it is to make it through.”
And on how he’s dealing with the rules surrounding the lockdown, he commented: “It is very strange at the moment, but I’m like everyone else and just getting through it.
“All of the fitness stuff we talked about is good, it’s something to focus on, and I think having it there to do is helping me to cope quite well.
“As much as possible I try to get my fitness stuff done in the morning, as soon as I wake up, and after that I’ve got a gym programme that I do with equipment I brought home with me. That all helps with the rehab as well as with keeping me ticking over.
“In the afternoon I go for bike rides and stuff like that, just to keep as busy as I can. I do go on the Xbox to keep myself occupied as well, but that’s nothing too serious, it’s just for a bit of fun.
“Other than that I’m just looking forward to be being back, but there’s no doubt that the most important thing is staying safe and looking after the NHS, so that they can cope with the unbelievable stuff they have to do.
“That’s what really important, but it will be good when we can get back and playing again.”