After the disappointing 3-0 loss at Stevenage, I think manager Steven Pressley was bang on with what he said in his post-match interviews.

He wasn’t too happy with his side’s performance, he thought they weren’t strong enough, they didn’t get about the pitch enough and that the goals were poor goals to concede.

You always need to look at the number of injuries you have got though and, if you take that many players out of the squad, then you are going to struggle. But before the game, we looked at it and we thought, if Carlisle can get a foothold in the match, as always, we have the players in League Two to cause problems. 

Unfortunately, we never really got to grips with Dino Maamria’s side in the midfield area and they scored at the right times.

I don’t think Stevenage were miles better than us, we just looked quite ordinary. On another day, with the players we have in the squad who were missing on Saturday, it could have been a completely different result. So, it’s frustrating for us, frustrating for the management and it’s frustrating for the supporters.

It was a blow to not have midfielder Kelvin Etuhu available, missing out with an ankle injury. I think that kind of pitch was made for him. 

Even on big pitches, he gets about and he puts out fires, and he disrupts the opposition. Certainly, on Stevenage’s pitch, he would have done that. He wouldn’t have had to cover as much ground, so he would have got about even more. I feel Boro had a bit of a lightweight midfield themselves.

But without having Etuhu or a Mike Jones, who was suspended after his red card against Bury, United didn’t have that power in the middle of the park. 

At times, technical footballers can come against technical footballers, and that’s what happened at the Lamex Stadium. We felt like we might come out on top, but it wasn’t to be and Stevenage played the situation a little bit better than us.

Despite the injuries, we still looked at the starting line-up and felt it was one which could compete with the home side. Looking at the strengths, we were thinking “Right, can we get the ball up to Connor Simpson and get players around him” because we have a very, very mobile team. Regan Slater has really good energy levels and covers a lot of ground, as does Callum O’Hare, Stefan Scougall could be a match-winner and we already know Nathan Thomas can help the team win games.

But you need to earn the right to play, which is something we speak quite a lot about, and we didn’t do that. Overall, it was a disappointing performance.

United now sit four points outside the play-offs and we have said for a while that it’s going to be tough to break back into the top seven.

If you look at Carlisle’s remaining four fixtures of their regular league season, the clash at home to Lincoln on Friday will be a really tough one but, if you look at the rest, you would probably take them on paper. I believe, if we can win the last three matches, we will get into the play-offs. 

I think there will be a lot of sides dropping points in and around us, as they have done all season, really. 

With the run we have been on, realistically, we shouldn’t be anywhere near the play-off places. But we are because there are teams above us who aren’t taking the bull by the horns and cementing their place.

Lincoln aside, where maybe we can look to get a point out of that one, the last three games against Grimsby, Crawley and Yeovil look like a good three matches to finish the season with. The players need to look at those fixtures and feel confident of getting nine points from them, and I’m sure they are feeling like that to be honest as they try to make one last push before the end of the season.

Over the weekend, the Imps, led by Danny and Nicky Cowley, sealed promotion to League One and they will win the title if they are victorious against United at Brunton Park, meaning there is set to be a big away contingent at this Friday’s match.

Lincoln have gone about things in the right way and, say what you want to about the Cowley brothers and I know some fans aren’t keen on the way they act sometimes, and we saw some of that first hand in our 2-2 draw at Sincil Bank earlier in the season, but they have played the league well this season.

Yes, they have had a big budget but they have used it well. 

They haven’t tried to play too much at the back, where they could get caught and be put on to the back foot, they have played to their strengths, got it forward and played in the other team’s half.

It’s similar to the way we played when we won League Two in the 2005/06 campaign. We didn’t pass the ball round at the start of matches, we started by getting into people’s faces. 

For Lincoln, that style has certainly worked this term and they have the kind of strength in depth in their squad you need to be able to do that. 

They have managed to pick more or less the same players virtually every week and have got fortunate with injuries. 

Then when they have been needed, they have had some dangerous players who could come off their bench and impact their games. 

Whatever level you are playing at, it’s a good achievement to get promoted and fair play to them.


The word “legend” gets banded about quite often these days but Ivor Broadis really was one.

At the age of 96, he was England’s oldest surviving international footballer before he died on Friday night.

He was Carlisle United’s player-manager at the age of just 23 and, like myself, played for Sunderland as well as Carlisle.

Broadis also played for Newcastle United and Man City in England, while he played all three of England’s games in the 1954 World Cup finals.

For somebody who is associated with Carlisle to have played in a World Cup, it’s an unbelievable achievement, isn’t it?

There are a lot of people thinking about him. We received a lot of texts and tweets about him while we were on BBC Radio Cumbria on Saturday, and long may that continue, to remember him.