Academy product Taylor Charters is already into his fourth year as a professional with the Blues and, having penned a new two-year deal this week, he confirmed that he’s keen to add to his 57 appearances as he steps up to League One with his boyhood club.
“I’m delighted to get it signed,” he said. “I heard about the offer a couple of days after the final and for me there was only ever one thing I was going to do.
“It’s another two years at this club and I really enjoyed the football last season. The fans were excellent so this was a bit of a no-brainer for me.
“I was here as a youth player as well but this is different. It’s a lot more challenging, it’s men’s football, it’s physical and it’s about fitness and being able to do it.
“A lot of it is in your head as well. The good thing here is that I was exposed to all of that quite young and I’ve had a lot of years round it since. I think I’m used to it now and I’m showing people what I can do.”
With loan spells and over 50 appearances for the Cumbrians, the experience already gained is often overlooked.
“It’s not been bad, but hopefully there’ll be many, many more in the next two years,” he told us. “With us being in League One I know it’ll be a bigger challenge but all of the lads who will be playing here next season will definitely be up for it.
“But the two-year deal means a lot. Obviously I only had a one-year deal last year, so it means the manager has confidence in me for it to be this length this time.
“I know I still have a lot to prove but the faith the manager has shown in me over the past season, and with this deal, will really help me going forward.
“He hasn’t actually said much to me really, but I don’t think he needs to. After the game at Wembley there was so much going on, and then when I met him on the Tuesday he talked to me about the offer and told me he hoped to see me next season.
“In the conversations we’ve had he’s always been very positive but, like I say, the fact that he’s shown faith in me and that he’s played me from the start of games shows that he does have confidence in me. That really helps your performances when you know that.”
Having been with the club through some difficult periods, as a fan, with the academy and with the first team, there was a smile on his face when he compared that to where we are now.
“It’s chalk and cheese,” he said. “Not even a couple of seasons ago, we’re talking the season before last, we weren’t doing great, the attendances were getting lower and it was tough.
“From that to what we experienced last season, where we were doing well, it’s unreal. The numbers we were getting away and at home, and the noises they were making, it was unbelievable. Again, that really does help to push the team forward.
“When we’re all pulling together and you see the amount of fans coming to watch, and they’re supporting you for the full game, it gives you an extra gear. If you’re tired, and they’re singing, you suddenly find you’re not tired any more and you can go again.”
So has he taken a peek at the League One table yet?
“I have actually, to be fair,” he admitted. “There are some big teams and some long distances. But I don’t see any reason why we can’t compete with those big clubs.
“I think we’ve already shown we can handle the big occasions against the big teams in League Two last season and I think after having a rest over the summer, with the good hard pre-season to come, that will stand us in good stead.”
“I certainly feel ready for it,” he added. “I think I’ve grown and I’ve gained some good experience. Going out on loan helped, then I came back and played regularly for the first team.
“What I want to add more of is goals - a few more this season definitely. Overall I want to work on my consistency as well. I want to bring a lot more goals and assists regularly to the table, but the main thing is working hard and making sure you put a shift in for the team.
“To be honest, everything is a bit of a whirlwind at the moment. It doesn’t feel like we’ve had any kind of break at all. We’re back in two weeks so I’ll enjoy the time off but as soon as we do come back I know I’ll be pleased that we are.”
And as for what it means for his club to be in League One ...
“Absolutely everything,” he told us. “Wembley actually feels surreal, I can’t remember the full day at all. I can’t remember taking a penalty, I can just about remember being up at the Royal Box, you’re just absolutely buzzing the full time you’re there.
“The enormity of the penalty, that hasn’t sunk in yet either. I’ve watched it probably over a hundred times, on telly and on my phone over and over, and I really can’t believe that I’ve done it, to be honest with you.
“I’m massively proud. I think this club has always been capable of doing this, and now that we have and you see fans on Twitter, Facebook and everywhere, and they’re absolutely buzzing about it, it really does make you feel very proud.
“All we can do is enjoy the celebrations over the next few weeks but we know that as soon as we’re back in for the first day of pre-season - it’s not so much forgotten, but it’s pushed to the back of your mind because we all have to start working hard for the next challenge in League One next season.”