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Club News

INTERVIEW: You definitely feed off each other

Gav Skelton with an injury update and on positivity

21 April 2022

Assistant boss Gav Skelton gave us an injury update at his Thursday afternoon press conference with confirmation that Jamie Devitt continues to improve as each day goes by.

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“We trained this morning with a full group so we’re in a good place,” he said. “Joel and Callum will be out for the season, but Dev is increasing his training, we’ll see where he’s at in a week or so, but Saturday will be too soon for him.

“He is making good progress. The others won’t be fit for this season but Dev has a chance. In a week or so we’ll see where he’s at.

“He has worked really hard and looks in good shape. Hopefully we can get him back on that pitch before the end of the season.”

With a feel-good factor around the club following recent results, we wondered if that was mirrored in the dressing room following what had been a big Easter Monday.

“I think you definitely feed off each other,” he told us. “The fans have been massive in the way they’ve reacted since Paul came in, and they’ve really got behind us home and away.

“That has helped us to get more positive results, and we’ve seen that through goals we’ve scored at the end of games.

“Rather than hanging on and feeling the tension we’ve had the confidence to keep going, and when you’re winning the fans get behind you even more, so things feel even better.

“That kind of thing is natural in football. If you’re winning games everybody feels better. When you bump into people in the shops or wherever, the conversations are so much better than if you’re on a bad run.

“Football doesn’t change, results determine everything, and that’s why it’s important we continue to try to win over the next three games.”

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Preview: Harrogate

21 April 2022

On how much of a difference the new manager made, he commented: “He’s an experienced manager and he’s very calm.

“He gives very clear messages, which the players have bought into, and his relationship with the supporters and the city has been magnificent.

“Everyone has been able to feed off that and you do start to bounce off each other. The supporters and the players have really come together because of it and it goes right through the club, the town and the area.

“When you have everybody pulling in the same direction it’s such a good thing. You start to build up a momentum, and you can’t really write down or explain what it actually is that causes it, but when you’re all feeling the same thing it’s amazing what can happen.

“Through the run we’ve beaten some of the top teams at home, which we hadn’t previously done, we’ve scored goals in the last few minutes, where we’d been conceding them and losing games, so when you have everyone pulling together these things happen for you.”

“There’s been a real energy about the place,” he added. “It might sound silly, but during the warm-up you feel it.

“In the first ten minutes of the game, if there’s a misplaced pass there isn’t moans and groans, and the players feed off that. Instead of tensing up under pressure, we’ve been able to play freer.

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“The energy levels on Monday were fantastic. I’m not big on stats but they were some of the best they’ve been all season and that’s because they get the energy off the crowd.

“The crowd stayed with us in the last 20 minutes and that’s why we got over the line. Mansfield were the better team in the first half, but we were the better team in the second half, if there was one criticism it’s that we should have finished the game off and made it more comfortable.

“And away from home, I’m so pleased the players have experienced that. They speak to other players at other clubs, it’s one thing we always do, have brilliant away support that make a lot of noise.

“Thankfully we’ve got a couple of results and they’ve responded to it. It’s really good. As Carlisle fans, we know the distances, it’s nice to have the players see how good they are.”

“Looking forward, we all want to be successful and push on,” he continued. “Anything Paul speaks to the board about will be for the benefit of the club, not for the benefit of him.

“None of us connected to the club want to be in this position again, we have to make sure we’re challenging at the other end of the league, so if any talks are going on I’m sure they’re for the benefit of the club, not any individual person.

“We’ve had success in his time here, I think we’ve won seven out of 12 games, so that’s good form. I’m really pleased how it’s gone for him, but it’s his decision and I’m sure the conversations will be happening.”

And we wondered if he’d ever been involved in a turnaround as dramatic before, as a player or a coach.

“Not really, maybe once when I was at Kilmarnock when we were struggling at the bottom of the league, and signed Kevin Kyle the striker,” he said. “Everything he hit, he scored.

“We were in the bottom six, and had a good run at the end of the season, and the crowd fed off him and it just goes hand in hand.

“We’ve played well, the effort’s been there, we’ve had our bits of luck but there’s a lot of positivity and things go for you more.

“There’s been a constant clear message to the players from the manager. When you win games everything’s great, that’s how it’s been the last few weeks.”

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