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Interviews

INTERVIEW: I'm coming back as a better me

Omari Patrick on his return to Brunton Park

8 January 2022

Forward Omari Patrick completed a permanent return to Brunton Park on Thursday afternoon and he confirmed at his first interview on Friday morning that he’s raring to go as he looks to get back to the kind of form that made him a firm favourite with the fans in his first spell.

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Talking first about walking back through the door after a six-month absence, he said: “Surprisingly it doesn’t feel strange because a part of me always knew that I’d come back here.

“I spoke to some of the lads that are still here every day, and some of the staff were always checking in with me, as were the fans on social media, even though I wasn’t here. It actually feels like I’ve come back to a home, basically.”

“It’s definitely a good next step because I remember the confidence I had when I first came here and the confidence the boys and the fans gave me,” he continued. “When I spoke to the gaffer and he told me what his plans were for me it was exactly what I wanted to hear.

“This cropped up last week, things weren’t working out at Burton, and I was given the opportunity to know that Carlisle were interested in me again, and it was something I said yes to straight away in my head.

“When we had a phonecall and the gaffer told me his plans for the team and for me, the style of play, I’ve done some research on the way the guys are playing now, and it was everything the gaffer said. It was a really easy decision in the end.

“It’s about finding myself again and becoming the person I was when I left. There’s been some new coaching added with me being at Burton, and it wasn’t like it was a complete waste of time, I learned a lot with them, and I feel like I’m coming back as a better me.

“I don’t think my spell at Burton was frustrating, to be fair, because it was about going through a new challenge. I always challenge myself, I want that in everything I do.

Match Previews

MATCH UPDATE: Bradford

7 January 2022

“It was a step up and it’s always good to learn off new people and new coaches, because you learn different ways to deal with things on the pitch, and how you need to be as a player.

“There’s been a gap in playing regularly, but I don’t think it’s been too long that it feels like I have to start again. I’m here to start again with Carlisle, of course I am, but in terms of playing it’s just another step that I’m ready to take.”

And on the meetings with the manager that swung his decision the way of Brunton Park, he commented: “I’ve been watching the results anyway, and I’ve been checking up on how the lads are playing, and it feels like I’ve been there with them, even though I haven’t.

“I love the club, I loved everything about it when I was here, and the interest in what’s been going on has always been there.

“I watched the game against Harrogate the other night and I was on the edge of my seat. I didn’t know I was coming back here then, but I wanted to be out there and getting on the end of some of those crosses and moves, it was unbelievable.

“I’m a fan and the way I saw the guys playing compared to last season, I could definitely see the changes. I knew it would be a good fit for me, as it was last season, and the gaffer has his plans for me in terms of my position, and I’m open to anything he wants me to do.

Match Previews

PREVIEW: Bradford

7 January 2022

“I’m a forward, but I would never minimise my options to help the team anywhere on the pitch. I guess we’ll see what fits for us in training, what’s best for the team, and we’ll go from there.”

“He talked to me about making sure I’m not here just to feel comfortable,” he revealed. “It’s definitely not about being comfortable for me – I just went outside and it was freezing! I remembered what that felt like.

“In that sense we’re definitely on the same page. I haven’t come back just because I know everybody, I’m here because it seems like it’s the right style of play for me.

“It could have been a different manager with a completely different style of play, and I wouldn’t have come back because it wouldn’t have felt right to just be here for the sake of it.

“Me knowing the lads and being here before is just a bonus. The reasons I’m here now are strictly based on the style of play, the gaffer’s plans for me and the plans I have for myself.

“And 18-months gives me a good chance to go again. The last time I came here in a January window it was also an 18-month deal, but I was short of that because of Covid.

“Hopefully that doesn’t happen again and I can get going up until the end of the season, and then we can all look forward to next season.”

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It’s fair to say the club’s social media channels erupted with positivity once the rumour started tio grow legs, and he admitted that it was nice to see such a positive reaction.

“I was looking at my phone yesterday and I was amazed at the reception I got,” he confirmed. “It’s good for my family to see things like that as well and it shows that I’ve made the right decision, both footballing wise and to be a part of something.

“When everybody got the news of me coming back and I was getting a lot of tweets saying, ‘Come home’ and things like that, and it’s nice to be wanted. It was hard to keep quiet, but I think it was worth it in the end.

“It’s happened quickly and I’m in to train, then it’s a game, and sometimes when you don’t get time to think it’s when things come naturally for you.

“It’s good that it’s been a busy few days and I’m glad that I’m getting straight into it. It means I’m getting right down to business and that’s what I’m here to do.”

Looking philosophically at the last few months, he said: “When you have a step up you’re around players that have maybe done a lot more in the game, with a lot of experience.

“It’s good to learn from them, and from a manager who was a Premier League legend himself. Although I didn’t play a lot of games, I was still with them every day, so I could use my brain as a sponge to soak up all the information they gave, and learned as much as I can, so it was really helpful. 

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“I know I need to add more to my game, that’s something else I’ve learned. Nobody can guarantee they’ll always score, otherwise I’d get a hundred a season. I’ve learned to always be contributing and to be positive but, yes, scoring more is something I want to do.

“I’m looking forward to doing it in front of the fans. Because of last year’s Covid I haven’t really played in front of the fans that many times.

“In my first spell I did in a few, but there were a lot of games where we missed them and I missed them, and didn’t really get to have that connection with them properly on the pitch.

“They were supporting through social media and you could connect with them that way, but it will be great to connect with them properly again.

“If I’m involved today it’s against an ex-club of a lot of us, but the main thing we’re worried about is what we do as a team. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing.

“I’m just excited for my debut again, no matter who. I think as long as we focus on ourselves, everything should come together and it will be a good game to win, but I don’t think we’re particularly worried about Bradford or thinking because it’s them and we have people that used to play for them. That’s the wrong way of thinking.”

Some people in football do say never go back, so what is his response to that type of comment now that he’s back in blue.

“I looked at the likes of JJ last season, he came back and it turned out a lot better for him,” he told us. “I think it just depends who you are and how you look at things.

“I have no problem coming back, I think it’s for the better for myself, and hopefully for the club too.”

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