Canice Carroll says he won’t abandon his aggressive style of play as he bids to establish himself at Carlisle United.

The midfielder is eyeing a first home start against leaders Exeter today having got back in the side after an early-season dismissal.

Carroll’s straight red on the second weekend at Swindon forced him to miss three games but he has since returned with outings against Rochdale and Scunthorpe.

The young Brentford loanee pledged to learn from his sending-off but will seek to “fine-tune” his game rather than change completely.

“I’d never change who I am and how I play,” Carroll said. “It’s what I got brought here to do.

“If I played a different way I don’t think the gaffer would want me here.

“It’s just toning it and fine-tuning it, which I’ve been trying to do.”

Carroll, 20, says he has tried to use the red-card experience positively in his attempt to get fully up to speed as a United player.

He also says the response of colleagues at Brunton Park after his dismissal told him a lot about the characters at the club.

“I feel like the red card has helped me out in a weird way,” he said. “It made me realise a lot of things – [such as not] letting the personal side of the game come into it, which is something I’d rather learn in the early part of my game than later on.

“It was good for me also to work to get fitter. I didn’t play a lot of minutes in pre-season which was disappointing; me and the gaffer had a conversation about that.

“Those two weeks were good for me because I was doing extra work and I feel I’m getting back to my fitness now – I felt that in the last few sessions and games.”

On his challenge on Swindon’s Jordan Lyden, which brought a swift end to his substitute’s outing in the 3-2 loss, Carroll added: “It was the second [sending-off] of my career, but the first straight red.

“It wasn’t so much disappointment that I got sent off, but more that I let the team down, because we still had a chance to win the game.

“It’s that eagerness to get stuck in. If the ball’s a little bit closer to me, I don’t have to stretch as much and it doesn’t look as bad. But it is what it is, and something I’ve got to learn from.

“It is tough, because I am so young, but it’s not an excuse, it’s just the way it is. Coming into a first-team like this and being so young, and being as hard on myself as I am, I always want perfection.

“When I did get sent off, no-one was angry at me or had a go at me. They understood it and they got it. That made me realise this team is really good and the one for me.

“After it happened I walked in [the dressing room] and sat on my own; Colin [Nixon] the kitman came in and the first thing he did was make sure I was alright, just saying to calm down and everything will be fine.

“That just said it all. The kitman coming in, with the game still going on, and making sure I’m alright. Then all the boys came in and did the same. The team spirit’s very high and you can see it around the place. The boys look after everyone. It was brilliant for me to have that.”

He added: “At Scunthorpe I got a booking for stopping a counter-attack. I don’t mind that sort of stuff. If I have to take yellow cards, or the worst comes to the worst a red, to stop anything like that, I would. It’s the team that’s more important, not me being on the pitch.”

Carroll believes United can build on last weekend’s 1-0 win at Glanford Park even if their overall display was below par. He also says their efforts at Rochdale in the Carabao Cup showed what they are capable of.

“The Rochdale game we were unlucky to lose – we played well in the first half and better in the second half, the chances didn’t come but we had the handball and if that decision goes our way I think we go on to win the game.

“It shows we’re a very good side. The goals we’ve been conceding have just been mistakes – no-one’s scored any goals we can look at and think they’ve played better than us or played us off the park.

“They’ve been our own mistakes, which we need to cut out and we’re getting there.

“We didn’t play as well as we know we could at Scunthorpe but we stayed in the game and Lofty [Ryan Loft] came on and scored a good goal and won us the game.

“That just shows how good the squad is – Lofty didn’t start but came on and scored a winner.

“The gaffer wants our performances to be better – compared to what we can do we were poor against Scunthorpe, but we were buzzing with the result. It just shows that we’re going places. If we’re playing bad now and still winning 1-0 it’s the sign of a good team.”

United will today bid to inflict Exeter’s first defeat of the season.

Carroll said: “Exeter are a good side but we’re not really focused on the opposition – we know if we go toe to toe with any team in this league, our football will come through and it will win us the game.

“We’ve played against Swindon and lost 3-2 and we were still in the game even with 10 men when I got sent off. It just shows we are a good side and we’re getting there. Swindon are going to be up there this season and it’s the same with Exeter – if we go out and play our own game and stick to what we’re good at, it should go well for us.

“When we do go toe-to-toe with the big sides we will show how good we are. Beating Exeter this weekend would give us massive confidence. I think then teams in the league will take us a bit more seriously.”

Carroll has the chance to nail a place in Steven Pressley’s side with fellow midfielder Stefan Scougall likely to be out for more than a month with a hamstring injury.

The loan man said: “It’s not nice to see one of your players, especially a player like Scougs, get injured, because he brings so much creativity and chances to the team. But we’ve just got to [move] on from that, and try and get some wins for him while he’s out.

“I want to get a run of games and be playing. But if it means I’m not playing sometimes, making cameo appearances and we’re winning games and playing well, and the midfield have been playing so good, that’s only better for me because it’s raising my game, I have to try and be better to play.

“We’re a squad that wants to go places and challenge this season, so there’s no room for disappointment if you’re not playing. You’ve just got to show the manager you should be playing when you come on. We’ve had that conversation and that’s what he wants from his players.”

Carroll says he is approaching peak fitness now after the hard work of recent weeks.

The Republic of Ireland under-21 international said: “I’m probably ready, about there. It feels like it.

“We did training [on Thursday], it was a tough session, and I felt good – I thought I looked sharp and fit.

“I’m getting there, which is a positive for me. I had a conversation with the gaffe’dr about the minutes I played, and it was disappointing for me to come here and not properly be able to get going, but I’m getting there now and feeling good every day.”

Carroll is now relishing the prospect of a full home debut.

He said: “It’s a different feeling starting at home and winning at home. I’m looking forward to it

“The crowd were brilliant at Scunthorpe. They were right to be annoyed with us, we were poor, that’s their right. We knew we let them down in the first half especially but we felt in the second half we pulled through and they pulled us through.”