Josh Dixon says he can’t wait for next season at Carlisle United – so he can deliver on his potential in a blue shirt.

The home-grown midfielder was recently handed a two-year deal at Brunton Park.

It came after Dixon made a successful return from long-term injuries.

And the Carlisle-born player said he is feeling better than ever in his bid to repay the faith of the United hierarchy.

On his new contract, 20-year-old Dixon said: “The clause was announced first and obviously I was buzzing about that, because it was good just to be here for another year.

“I then sat down with David Holdsworth [director of football] and we’ve agreed another two years, so I’m delighted that I’m going to be here through to 2023.

“It means a lot. It shows that the men at the top have got faith in me to produce for this football club.

“I just can’t wait to repay them all for that because there was a time where I didn’t know what was going to happen before they gave me a new contract.

“I’m ready to do that. I think this [2020/21] season I was unlucky with the Covid stuff; obviously with my two big injuries [successive cruciate knee ligament injuries in 2018 and 2019] I need game time, but with the way the season went I was in and out of the squad and I was trying my hardest to get up to full fitness.

“There were little niggles and injuries along the way, but I’m feeling much fitter now and I just can’t wait for this new season to start.”

Dixon says he is determined to prove to head coach Chris Beech that he can be a good all-round performer in midfield.

The young Cumbrian is known for his ball-playing ability but Beech has challenged Dixon to add other aspects to his game.

“When he [Beech] first came in he spoke about how good I was technically, and he told me all the positive things he liked about me,” he said.

“He also highlighted the things I needed to work on, like tracking back and keeping a high work rate so that we could win the ball back as a team.

“Working with him since he came in has improved that side of my game and I’m just ready to prove to him that he can give me a chance.”

Dixon says he has benefited from the experience of colleagues in the United dressing rom as he continues learning his trade.

He said: “The experienced lads have been brilliant. Dean Furman was always helping me, Callum Guy was brilliant as well. Joe Riley was really good because he’s been through similar things to me [with injuries] and he had some excellent advice. All of the lads have helped me at some point, to be fair.

“We’ve all gelled together really quickly, there have been no fall-outs or anything like that. It’s like a family, tight-knit group in many ways.”

Dixon is one of a number home home-grown players in next season’s squad, alongside Taylor Charters and new pros Lewis Bell and Keelan Leslie.

The midfielder says he and his fellow academy graduates can help drive each other forward at United.

“We definitely push each other on,” Dixon said. “We’ve obviously trained together for ages now so we know how each other play.

“The gaffer and Gav [Skelton] are always talking to us about how they want us to play so we’ll all keep working hard to get our chance.”

Dixon is also looking forward to playing in front of supporters at Carlisle, having been largely denied that chance in his career so far.

The midfielder had a taste of the Brunton Park crowd in a pre-season friendly against Hibs in 2019 but the 2020/21 campaign was mostly played behind closed doors.

He said: “It will mean a lot to play at Brunton Park in front of the fans.

“I remember that Hibs game in pre-season, it feels like ages ago, but I got a bit of a taste of it then.

“When the fans are in it makes you more up for the occasion because you want to do really well in front of them. I think the fans bring you up another level and I can’t wait for them all to be back in.”