Floods, beasts from all points of the compass, weather bombs, freak storms – you name it, Carlisle United have faced it all at some point, but reaching the halfway point of a season with just three months left to go is a new one on us, particularly when you consider that this lack of games is accompanied by a pandemic that has already rewritten the rule book in so many different ways.
But, although the circumstances are unique, manager Chris Beech revealed that he’s faced something similar before, but at the other end of the table.
“At Rochdale we were very successful in getting promoted, and doing very well in League One,” he explained. “We had three consecutive top-10 finishes.
“But the fourth season, we were near the bottom of League One, but we ended up getting to the fifth round of the FA Cup and taking Tottenham to a replay. Because of that we were four or five games behind everybody, and I think at one stage 12 points in the relegation zone with not many games left.
“But if you look at each game individually rather than the old ‘you’ve got 12-13 games left, they’ve only got 8, you’ve got to win this, if they do that …’ if you remove all that out of your mind and simply concentrate on what is next, then attack it to the best of your abilities, you deal with it better.
“That’s how we approached it at Rochdale and we managed to stay in League One. Joe Thompson an ex-Carlisle player scored the goal against Charlton that kept Rochdale up. That was something I suppose I could look at as being about the same as this.”
“In terms of how I go about things anyway, my life hasn’t been easy,” he added. “It really hasn’t. The difficulties Brandon’s had to go through teach you a lot about life skills.
“He was fortunate enough to get a liver, if he didn’t get one he wouldn’t be here, it’s as simple as that. That was when we were actually getting promotion out of League Two – same year, April Fool’s Day, the same year Rochdale got promoted.
“These things test you in different ways. For me, in terms of this season, I can’t wait. We’ve got 23 games to go, but we can only play the next one. Let’s hope we can play it on Saturday; if not it will have to be the Tuesday after. That’s just the way it is.”