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INTERVIEW: It's the first time I've been nervous

Owen Moxon on pre-season and being on Brunton Park for the first time

22 July 2022

Carlisle-born midfielder Owen Moxon returned to the club where it all started at the start of the summer and his range of passing has already been put to good effect as he continues to make the transition from part-time to full-time football.

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The 24-year-old was a standout performer with Annan Athletic last time out, and was one of the first signings made by manager Paul Simpson after last season’s business had been completed.

Another hour in the heat against Livingston at the Largs training camp on Tuesday afternoon added more minutes to legs, and we caught up with him to find out how things are going as he got his breath back shortly after the final whistle had blown.

“We’re all working hard every day and playing a game always feels a bit easier than just running and stuff like that,” he said. “Everyone is putting in a hundred percent and that matters.

“Obviously this wasn’t the best result but I thought we were good in parts. I think you could tell there were a few tired legs in the second half and that’s because we've been worked very hard so far.

“Once the league games come it’s all going to have been worth it.”

The tone for another game full of energy was set during the warm-up, with assistant manager Gav Skelton making sure that the drills were precise and sharp.

“That’s how it has to be because we want to make sure we’re as good as we can be,” he commented. “The weather’s a joke at the moment, but everyone went out and did it properly and I think we used the ball well.

“We created a lot of chances and we know we need to take them. We’ve been doing that through pre-season, so it was maybe a little bit of an off day in this game.

“The good thing is that if we’re creating these chances it’ll stand us in good stead for the first game. With myself, I wanted to come here and play as many games as possible and I can’t wait for the league games to start now.

“That’s when it properly matters. You can do as well as you want in pre-season but it’s the league that counts. I’m buzzing every time I think about it.”

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And having made that step back into the professional ranks, he said: “I haven’t been full-time for about five years, I think, and I was just talking to Jamie Roper about it.

“It’s starting to tell on my legs now, but you’ve just got to get on with it. I know the sessions will be tailored towards the first league game next week, but the gaffer wants us to be pushed to our limits.

“Like I say, I can feel it in my legs, but it’s about getting on with it and knowing that it’ll be good for the league games to come.

“When we get to periods like Christmas and the end of the season we’ll be fit, and with the way it’s gone I think we’ll be one of the fittest in the league.”

“The good thing for me is that the lads have been brilliant,” he added. “It is a step up but I feel like I’ve fitted in well and it’s been comfortable for me as well.

“I know there are things I need to work on, and improve, which the gaffer and Gav are talking to me about all the time. I’m just looking forward to seeing it all come off for me in the league.

“Being local I know a few of the lads who are my friends were at the game the other day but I don’t think too much about that. It’s nice when you come off the pitch to read the comments from the fans.

“Even if it’s just pre-season reading the comments from the supporters is good and it does give you a bit more confidence. That’s the same for all the lads, when the fans get behind you it matters.

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“As a fan myself I know how much everybody supports Carlisle and I know what it means to them for us to be doing well. When they’re there in numbers, even for a friendly like it was last weekend, it’s brilliant.

“Hopefully as many as possible can come down for the first game, get behind us and give us that extra lift.”

And pulling that shirt on to head down the tunnel and take to the pitch for the Bolton game last weekend proved to be as special a moment as he expected it to be.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s the first time I’ve been nervous before a game for a long time,” he admitted. “Being at Brunton Park and finally getting out onto the pitch - it’s all I’ve wanted to do from a very young age.

“Then on Twitter, as we said before, some of the fans said I had a good game and that’s nice. I felt ok in myself, but I also felt I could do better and as I get more confident I’m hoping that’ll grow.

“I’ve been made to feel welcome by the group so coming away to Largs and having a bit of a laugh, on top of the serious training, is another good thing for us all.

“And the shape we’re playing has worked. We’ve played with the two sitting, and one in front, but the gaffer’s changed it a couple of times as well.

“I’m used to being the one sitting, so I’ve been able to get a little bit further forward. It’s a role I’ve never really played before so it was different for me to do that against Bolton.

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“I had to adapt to it, then things change during the game and that’s when we have to talk to each other and sort it out while we’re out there. That worked well.”

“The assists have been good to get,” he continued. “I do back myself with stuff like that, and I can remember the first interview I did where I spoke about the fact that I would take risks.

“Sometimes they don’t come off, but when they do it hurts teams. That’s what I like to do and I know Denno [Kris Dennis] has got on the end of a few, and that’s been from the same exact ball in a couple of games now.

“We keep laughing about it, but I’m looking for it and we seem to have picked up a good understanding. Gibbo makes his forward runs and I like to play the passes into him, I never like to be too safe.

“I just want to help everybody, and the team, and get as many assists as possible.”

Carrying shirt number 4 could possibly add weight to the feeling of personal responsibility, but it also acts as an incentive to be, as the manager keeps saying, the best you can possibly can be every time you represent the club.

“Like I say, Bolton was the first time I’ve been nervous for a long time,” he told us. “Once I got out there I was fine.

“Once you get going it’s just another game of football, and the fans were brilliant, which helped. I’m sure there’ll be many more for the first league game so I’m looking forward to that.

“Hopefully that will be my proper debut for the club, so I’m really looking forward to it.

“And I know there’s no guarantee of that. There are a lot of good players and it’s strong competition so I need to keep working hard and hopefully it’ll be me the gaffer picks to play.”

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