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INTERVIEW: We're definitely confident

Owen Moxon on Bradford, play-off experiences and the fans

12 May 2023

It was a busy press day at Brunton Park on Friday as everybody starts to focus on Sunday night, and the play-off semi-final first-leg meeting with Bradford City at Valley Parade.

And with a run of good performances under his belt, along with a whopping tally of assists, it will come as little surprise to learn that Owen Moxon was top of the wish list for journalists from near and far to speak to.

Talking about the trip to play the Bantams, he told us: “I’m sure if you asked any Carlisle fan this time last year to have this position they’d have bitten your hand off.

“I’m chuffed and proud of all the lads, we’ve had a good season so far, but there’s still three games to go.

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“When we went there last time, it’s the first time I’ve played there, it’s a brilliant ground, and it will be nice to see it full. Our fans have been amazing all year, they’ve sold our bit out rapid. I’m looking forward to it.

“It doesn’t matter about the games we’ve already played against them. It’s new – two games, two cup finals, both teams will want to go and win.

“We have done well against them this year, but we’ve got to take that into these games but also add a bit more. It’s potentially two last games, we’ve just got to go and give everything.

“I know everybody does every week, but see if you can find a little bit more, play with the confidence and we’ve got that end goal of a chance of playing at Wembley that pushes you on. Hopefully we can start bright, do well at their place and finish it off here.”

“It's the old cliché, but we’ve taken every game as it comes, and I think everyone’s in the same mindset to do that again,” he continued. “We’ve wanted this from the start, so it’s just another stepping block that we’ve got to get over to achieve that.

“We’re definitely confident, and the manager is massive with that, he just keeps us right. He just demands everything, the basics off us, day in, day out, that never slips.

“He’s won numerous things in his career. He’s had a brilliant career so that sort of experience definitely makes us feel like we’re in good hands, so we’ve got nothing to worry about.”

And he’s one of the players within the group who has first-hand play-off experiences to draw on.

“I’ve lost two play-off finals so I’m hoping this is third time lucky,” he commented. “I definitely don’t want to have that feeling again. It’s been a long season but now the lads are all feeling good, we’re all fit and ready.

“We just want to go out there and there’s one thing on our mind, and that’s first and foremost beat Bradford on Sunday and then take us to Wembley, and we want to finish the job off there.

“It is probably the best way to go up, so we’ll just have to see. I just think we definitely all want it. We’ll be going out there to try and do it.

“Obviously I’ve watched Carlisle in the past in the play-offs as well. Last time, when it was Exeter, I came to the home game when it ended 3-3. It was a good game, I can remember watching the second leg on the telly, I had a few mates who made the trip down.

“They were saying this year at least it’s not as far to travel if it does end in heartache like that. I don’t have too many memories of it but I’m hoping we can make this one a good memory and we can go all the way.”

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As ever, games like these stand alone as their own occasions, with the 46 that have gone before serving only to have brought the teams to this point.

“I can’t speak for everybody else but, for me, once Sutton had finished, it did feel like a bit of a reset,” he confirmed. “Results maybe haven’t gone how we’d want them over the last month, so I think once Sutton was done we knew we were in the play-offs and that’s what we were doing.

“We weren’t chasing automatic any more. It definitely felt like a bit of a reset, so it’s three more games now. We need to get ourselves ready for them and go and perform the best we can in them.

“If it doesn’t take us where we want it to, then at least we can say we tried our best and it wasn’t meant to be. We’re definitely not thinking like that, we just want to go and do well and see where it takes us. 

“It won’t be easy, Bradford are a good team and a massive club as well. Maybe they shouldn’t be a League Two team. The stadium, everything around it, they’ve got a big following.

“They’re definitely a good team, they’ve got a lot of threats, Cooky’s scored a lot of goals, they’ve obviously got threats all over the pitch. But it’s nothing we’re worried about, to an extent.

“We haven’t been beaten off them all year. I know that doesn’t matter but we’re a good side as well and we just focus on ourselves, try and nullify the problems that they can cause, and play our game.” 

Backing the lads every step of the way will be the Blue Army, with 2,440 tickets snapped up for the away end.

“The fans have been amazing,” he agreed. “I know it’s the play-offs and a big game, and at Bradford you’re able to have a lot more fans, but nearly 2,500 sold out in a day or two, for a Sunday night, wow.

“I’m sure there’ll be a lot of kids there who have school the next day and it just shows how much the fans and city are getting behind us. We’ve done well, it’s nice to see them support us and notice we’ve done well.


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“Everybody’s getting excited for it, I keep speaking to people who are buzzing for Sunday. Hopefully long may that continue and we’ll give them something to cheer about.

“I’ve got a few mates going down, they’re looking forward to it, they keep telling me they’re buzzing for it. The support all season has been brilliant from all the fans, and from a playing point of view the boys can’t thank them enough for this year. We just want to give them something to smile about.”

And if it is a successful end to the campaign?

“One thing I said the other day is what a difference a year can make for me personally,” he said. “I went to the Annan play-off game the other day, hopefully they go up. I was playing in that last year.

“At the game I was thinking in a few weeks’ time this could be me playing at Wembley. It’s definitely a dream, every lad I can imagine has dreamed of playing at Wembley and getting promoted there.

“It definitely would be a bit of a dream come true. But we need to get there first. I’m trying not to think about that until after these games.

“I’m sure it will mean the world to everybody if we can get there and get promoted. You definitely don’t want to be losing a game there. We need to get there first and that’s what I’m focusing on at the minute.”  

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