Anthony Gerrard says departed boss John Sheridan can take huge credit for Carlisle United’s run of form which has put them on the brink of club history and led him to sign a new deal.

The centre-half is hoping to help the Blues to a seventh straight league win at Northampton which would equal the club’s best-ever run.

Tomorrow’s clash with the Cobblers, managed by ex-United boss Keith Curle, comes after Gerrard signed a second half-season deal to keep him at Brunton Park until the summer.

The influential defender says the fact fifth-placed United have put themselves in the promotion race is a key reason he stayed – and he puts that form down to Sheridan, now at Chesterfield.

“People can say it’s got nothing to do with the manager – it’s got everything to do with the manager,” Gerrard said.

“I think all the work he did previously, including this run of games, is down to him.

“He was trying to drill home what we’re capable of. For him to upset a few people got the right reaction. He had to do it and the proof’s in the pudding.”

Gerrard would not be drawn on rumours that Sheridan’s new National League club made a late bid to lure him to the Proact Stadium.

He said, though, that he wanted to remain a big part of Carlisle’s League Two promotion push, and backed joint caretaker managers Tommy Wright and Paul Murray to remain in charge.

On a potential approach from Chesterfield, he said: “I can’t say. There was a number of clubs interested. You can read into that what you will.

“[But] it didn’t make sense to go anywhere, with where we are at present and what we could possibly achieve. If I did leave it could have been a case of ‘what if’. I don’t do what ifs.

“Six on the bounce, in touching distance of the automatics and cementing our place in the play-offs. I think it’s a little bit of unfinished business, and hopefully we can achieve what we think we can achieve.

“What’s happened in the last six months has had a major sway in me staying at Carlisle. There’s a [certain] tag that seems to have stuck to me, but everyone else’s loss is Carlisle’s gain. I’m here for another six months and I’m out to prove a point, to set the record straight.

“Ultimately I didn’t want to leave. I would have liked the deal to be longer, so I’m settled for next year, but the powers-that-be didn’t want that. So it’s a six-month deal.

“I’m just here to do a job and fulfil our potential, hopefully.”

Gerrard added that Sheridan’s decision to quit the Blues had not put doubt in his mind about a future in Cumbria.

The 32-year-old said: “No, not really. If we were floundering down at the bottom [maybe], but we’re flying, doing well, have a good group of lads who want to achieve something and it’s a very distinct possibility that could happen with the form we’re on.

“It’s about us now, pushing on, pushing forward, trying to get that consistency we’ve been banging on about for so long.”

Loan striker Connor Simpson will be in tomorrow’s squad after the 18-year-old joined from Preston, with the Blues still trying to bring Jerry Yates back from Rotherham.

Wright and Murray look set to remain in charge for their second game with United continuing to weigh up potential candidates for either a manager or head coach position.

The caretakers are also keen on the post with Murray admitting it will all boil down to results.

Gerrard is backing the pair. He said: “If I was in charge of the recruitment, that would be the direction I’d go in - try and keep the consistency and continuing success.

“Bring a new manager in, you’re inviting trouble, [with] new ideas and a new philosophy.

“You get a new manager in saying the lads aren’t fit enough, and it’s loads more running. That always seems to happen. That wouldn’t go down well with me definitely!

“I think consistency is key with every aspect.”

Although Sheridan had some well-publicised bust-ups with certain players, Gerrard was a supporter of his style and his belief United can challenge this season.

The defender said: “It’s a major thing, self-belief and self-confidence. When you get down to Leagues One and Two a little bit of your self-confidence goes. ‘I think I’m better than where I’m playing’. But until you start producing things on the pitch, that confidence and self-belief doesn’t grow.

“You get flamboyant players with silly boots, have their hair gelled and are full of self-praise and self-importance, but until you start producing with your actual ability and performance, that doesn’t come.

“It’s a little standing joke between me and the lads, after every good game I have, saying, ‘imagine where I’d be if I was two stone lighter’. My football ability has never been in question, it’s other bits and pieces around me, ‘he’s this, he’s that….’

“But people who know me in football know I’m a happy-go-lucky kind of lad, love a laugh and a joke, and when it’s time to get serious I get serious.

“That’s either with the management or the players - and football is going a little bit pansy. Managers don’t like confrontation, which is a bit ridiculous really, in the environment you’re dealing with, 20-odd group of men, and you’re not going to see eye to eye with every one of them.

“With Shez that’s what was brilliant about him. You could have a stand-up, give it him back, and it would all be done and dusted. There’s not many people like that in football at this present moment in time, which is a crying shame.”

Gerrard says he wants to make the most of his further time with the Blues.

He added: “People say ‘he’s not fit, he’s this, he’s that’. I do carry a bit of timber, let’s make no bones about it, but it doesn’t hinder me on the pitch.

“I think it’s a dying breed. There are too many snowflakes about who go down with a sprained sock. That’s not what I’m about. I’m here to do a job with Carlisle and hopefully can fulfil it.

“Honesty is a major role in any walk of life, whether you’re a footballer, teacher, fireman. If you’re honest with what you give and are capable of, people can accept that. If you’re a little bit of a fraud, all mouth shall we say, people look through that and it’s quite transparent. Honesty’s a major part for me and that’s what I give on the pitch.”

Gerrard says that, despite their superb form having put them in a promising position, Carlisle cannot afford to look beyond tomorrow’s game.

On United’s six wins, he said: “It’s down to the previous manager in what he’s tried to do. Sometimes he goes about it in a way people see as the wrong way, but ultimately he’s a winner, and people love winners and winning.

“That’s what he was trying to do. We want winners. If that means upsetting people, like I think he did, so be it. If you asked the majority of lads now - ask anyone now - if he’d done it earlier in the season and had this kind of reaction, where would we be?

“Any time you are flying high, you’re there to be shot down. Mansfield, with their unbeaten record of 17 games was a great achievement but there were a lot of draws in that. We’re not drawing, we’re putting wins consistently together.

“This will come to an end, then it’s how quickly you get back on a winning streak. If it continues, so be it. Nothing lasts forever and there will come a time when you do get beat, but it’s always how you react to it.

“I and the lads are not looking too far forward. That old cliché, take every game as it comes, is the most boring cliché in football but that’s really how it is.

“If you start losing sight of what’s next, you can fall down the table at a rapid pace.”

United’s only previous seven-game winning run was set by Paul Simpson’s side in the 2005/6 title-winning season.

The Blues’ sixth straight win came last weekend with their 3-2 win against the Stags the day after Sheridan’s exit.

“I thought we scored some fantastic goals - goals that should be in a higher league and standard.” Gerrard added.

“That shows how far we’ve come. I heard noise on Saturday like I haven’t heard from the fans, which is quite surprising and refreshing.

“If we can bring that for every home game to the end of the season it will be a great benefit to the lads who play and also the club.

“It’s a fantastic club, and the people are very hospitable. I just think it needs an injection of happiness, success, whatever you want to call it. Hopefully we can provide that.”