Before all the John Sheridan saga, with Carlisle United’s boss resigning on Friday, I had been really looking forward to Saturday’s game against Mansfield since the end of the Macclesfield game. It didn’t disappoint, either, with the Blues claiming a 3-2 win.

After the 2-1 home success over Macclesfield, I felt fans were leaving with a buzz. I thought the game at Morecambe on New Year’s Day would take care of itself, so I was looking forward to seeing Carlisle test themselves at home against a big-hitter with the Stags previously unbeaten in 17.

The match didn’t disappoint at all.

In light of Sheridan’s resignation a day earlier, the players could have had every reason to allow their performance levels to dip with certain players’ own futures also uncertain.

But, after a slow start, I felt it was a really good performance by everyone to claim a sixth straight win. I felt they thoroughly deserved the victory against a Mansfield side who I’m sure will be up towards the top of League Two at the end of the season.

It’s clear United’s players are playing with a lot of confidence, with Hallam Hope netting twice at Brunton Park at the weekend.

When Hope first came back to Carlisle, I think people were looking for him to be the 20-goal per season man but, since then, he has been shifted out left and has played out right at times. On the left, I feel he does a good job, especially defensively.

But in the last few weeks, I think he has looked at what Jerry Yates has done and I feel someone may have had a word to tell him not to worry too much if you aren’t scoring, because, in this position, we’re hoping you will be the focal point.

I think that’s why Jack Sowerby is now getting goals and why Jamie Devitt is playing so well. Hope isn’t a traditional target-man but he is a focal point and midfielders can bounce the ball into him, knowing it’s going to stick.

In my playing days, I had a similar situation with Karl Hawley at Carlisle. You wouldn’t say he was a target-man but you knew, if the ball went into him, you could make runs. I think that’s what is happening with Hope.

At the minute, the opposition don’t know if they should go in tight or step off because, either way, Carlisle can combat that with different tactics and personnel.

A few weeks ago, Devitt was making a lot of good tackles in midfield. As much as that’s great to see, you don’t want Devitt to be making tackles. You want players like him in the final third, pulling the strings, getting assists and goals.

United’s current run of six straight wins is the best since 2008 when I was playing for the club. You don’t really remember how you were playing but you do remember playing with that confidence.

Even before Saturday’s game, I thought fans shouldn’t have been too worried, even with Sheridan departing, because, once you are on a winning run, the manager doesn’t have a great deal of input.

The players will be full of confidence and the team will be picking itself at the minute. Training will be light, to keep them ticking over, but the United players will be going out each week with the same confidence. Long may that continue.

It was also an important victory for the Carlisle fans after what had happened, leading up to the match.

You need to have the personal pride to want to perform for yourself, as well as the team.

The Blues’ players all seemed to have the right attitude, and all the best teams have that team spirit.

We always said the Cumbrians do have good players and are a good team and that’s why, when they weren’t winning or went on a bit of a losing run, the criticism was quite severe at times. They look like a side capable of competing at the top of the league, and I think the players can see that now, and they all believe it.

Ashley Nadesan is now back at Fleetwood, with his loan having now ended, while Anthony Gerrard’s contract is up this week and Sowerby is due back at Fleetwood at the end of the month, so Carlisle will need to move quickly to re-sign some of these players now if they can. 

If these players are doing well, then that means the team is doing well, so United need to fight to keep hold of them. Hopefully, there is a deal to be done with Nadesan. 

I can see him wanting to stay, as well as Sowerby. But parent club Fleetwood, and some other teams, could be looking at the likes of Sowerby’s recent form, so it’s up to us to strike while the iron is hot.

Tommy Wright and Paul Murray were in caretaker charge for the Mansfield match.

Without being disrespectful, I felt they had an easy job because of the run the team is on. The test will come when Carlisle are beaten, but they both have enough experience to keep this run going.

I’m not sure what the club want to do with regards to Sheridan’s long-term successor.

I’d understand if they wanted someone who had been there and done it, but it’s important to keep Wright and Murray on board to have a bit of continuity. 

There is already speculation Wright will follow Sheridan to Chesterfield, but I think Murray will stay and I hope Wright does, too. If the board give it to them both until the end of the season, I’d understand it. But if they give it to a manager with good pedigree, I can see that working, too. 

It’s going to be an interesting couple of weeks.

*Carlisle United travel to 17th-placed Northampton and will face former manager Keith Curle this Saturday.

I think Curle did a good job at United. He usually likes to think about how the opposition play, so I can probably see the Blues being restricted a little bit in their movement.

He’ll probably go a little bit more defensive, in my opinion, to try to combat Carlisle’s style of playing.

But when you are towards the top end of the league, as the Blues now are, sitting in fifth place having won six successive matches, you need to find ways to keep on winning and that’s what the Cumbrians have been doing of late.

When Curle first came to Carlisle back in 2014, the club looked set for relegation into the National League, to be honest.

Morale was very low and the players on show weren’t great, but he managed the situation.

He brought in players that probably wouldn’t be joining the club in the position they are in now, but what he did do was he did needed to get battlers and warriors in, and he did that, and he improved us.

At times, Curle did divide fans and maybe could have had the John Sheridan approach a bit more of focusing on their own strengths and not so much on the opposition.

At times, Curle probably did think about the opposition a bit too much whereas Sheridan, as we have seen over the last weeks and months, he has backed his players to go and attack the opposition and that’s worked.

Both Curle and Sheridan were successful players in the Premier League for a long time, and both played internationally, too, with Curle representing England and Sheridan turning out for the Republic of Ireland.

So, they both did extremely well in their playing days and command a lot of respect.