Ahead of Saturday's clash with Carlisle United, we spoke to Sports Reporter Jon Colman of the Carlisle News & Star...
- Carlisle have started the season in impressive fashion – what do you put the club’s form down to?
“The Club had a big turnaround in the Summer and it was a squad that was ripe for it after a pretty underwhelming year last year. They have recruited better, with an emphasis on young players with something to prove and notably, good characters too. There doesn’t seem to be any bad eggs around the place which also goes a long way.”
- What were the expectations at the start of the season?
“There was a bit of qualified optimism as there was such a big turnaround and most people accepted that was needed. There seemed to be a freshness about a lot of the recruitment and in the profile of some of the players that were brought in which led to some hope. So, people were hopeful – not to be romping away with automatic promotion – but to change the tone and be competitive. Now there is a bit of real belief that they can make a real go at something this year.”
- Recent pushes for promotion have often tailed off for Carlisle I think it’s fair to say – have you seen anything that suggests that won’t be the case this season?
“This isn’t a team that carries the baggage of past Carlisle teams. The team has completely changed. For example, Mellish is one of the longest serving players in the squad and he only signed in the Summer of 2019. Carlisle haven’t had a promotion since 2006 so it has been a fair stretch and the Club has undergone certain changes and people are waiting for that injection of hope and success. It is quite freshening for supporters that there is a team now competing at the right end of the table.”
- How has Paul Farman settled in? Has he been a stand-out player at all?
“He has been the regular number one and they have three senior keepers at Carlisle at the moment. Like many players, he probably didn’t start the season at his absolute best and the defensive unit wasn’t immediately knitted together but since then his game has risen along with many others.
“They have protected him very well to be honest, last week at Bradford he didn’t have to save a shot at target. He has had a couple of stand-out games, most notably when he saved a penalty at Port Vale in a really good win but apart from that, there hasn’t been many games where you thought that he won Carlisle the game.
“That is credit to the rest of the team though and I guess Farman has been allowed to go under the radar, which is perfect for a goalkeeper.”
- Who has been the teams star man?
“It has to be Jon Mellish. He hadn’t scored a goal in the EFL until October and since then he has scored 12 in 16 games. It is a remarkable feat. He is a bit old school in how he plays. He isn’t what you would call a refined modern midfielder, but he has got an engine, he is physical and has great timing at getting onto the end of things. He has been the star of the season, without a doubt.”
- What’s your score prediction for Saturday’s game?
“I will go for a 2-1 Carlisle United win.”
Saturday's match at Carlisle United is available for supporters to watch with an iFollow Match Pass. Click here for more information.