It was great to get the win at Walsall last Sunday, to hear the fans chanting “United!” after the game. Then three days later to get battered at Crewe... the lack of consistency sums the season up.

There’s no point thinking we’ve turned a corner. I think it’s going to be a battle to the end of the season.

In general, Chris Beech has tightened things up defensively but we still have games where we fall apart, like at Crewe, and at Colchester a few weeks ago.

They just need to pick themselves up for Saturday. Mind you, you can say the same about our FA Cup opponents, Cardiff. While we were losing 4-1 at Crewe they were losing 6-1 at QPR. So what’s the result going to be tomorrow?

After the QPR game I don’t think Cardiff will risk making a lot of changes. They won’t want to lose to a struggling League Two team, and the cup could be a money-spinner for them. Also, they won’t want a replay. I think they’ll show us respect.

Carlisle should look forward to the game. They’re going to what was recently a Premier League ground. They’ve got nothing to lose. The pressure is all on Cardiff. Their fans will be expecting a walkover into the fourth round. It’s a chance for Carlisle’s players to express themselves.

All Football League players should be fit enough. The difference between Championship and League Two is mainly technique and mentality. And in Carlisle’s case, consistency.

I’ve got good memories of the FA Cup from my playing days but I never got close to the final. The closest Carlisle have ever come – the quarter-final in 1975 – I was at Oldham at the time.

My best FA Cup memory is when Carlisle beat Newcastle 1-0 in the third round at St James’ Park in 1968. We were on a crowd bonus – only in the FA Cup – of £1 for every thousand people over 5,000.

There was nearly 57,000 in that day so we got a bonus of more than £50 each. That was a lot of money then. We were on about £30 a week.

Ten years later we drew Manchester United at home, also in the third round. The atmosphere with 22,000 in Brunton Park was amazing. We went 1-0 down early on. I crossed for Ian McDonald to head the equaliser.

In the second half I was brought down in the box. It was a definite penalty but it wasn’t given. I wonder if the ref would have given it if he hadn’t already sent a Man United player off.

It finished 1-1. Four days later we lost the replay at Old Trafford, 4-2. That was another big crowd: 54,000. We never gave ourselves a chance. They got in front and that was that. Our chance was at home.

It’s strange to think that we’ve only ever played Man United twice: those two cup games, within a few days of each other. When you went to grounds like Old Trafford and St James’, it was something special.

So was a packed Brunton Park. The crowd does make a big difference. Now they’re just waiting for a performance – something to get them out of their seats.

n Interview: Roger Lytollis