Reds first-team vice-captain Brad Carroll says he’s got light at the end of the tunnel after recommitting to another campaign at the club.
Carroll, who recently turned 24 years old, will run out for this third full season as a Red next term, having re-signed yesterday.
The Barrowvian chatted about sealing the deal and spoke candidly on others various topics, including our target of promotion this term.
Speaking on a phone call on Thursday, the central midfielder admitted: “It’s frustrating for everyone at the minute but we’ve just go to get on with it.
“Once Danny [Grainger] rang me to sort it out, it was music to my ears to know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
“He’s got plans for next season; new players and stuff like that.
“He knows that I know the score, what he wants from me and so on.
“It’s just a case of getting my head down, cracking on because next season’s going to be tough.
“We’ve been in this league for two years now – both seasons haven’t been completed – so it’s like: ‘This is going to be it, we’ve got to get out of this league.’”
Our 20/21 campaign is currently paused after just nine league games, a season which has never really got going due to the impacts of COVID-19.
We sit third in the Northern Premier League North/West table and have had a few frustrating results – almost as many as we suffered throughout the previous term – and Carroll says the unpredictable nature of the term was tough to handle.
“It was similar for everyone, it was so stop-start, you couldn’t pick up any momentum and you just have to look at the results.
“When you look at last year [a season in which he scored his first senior hat-trick at former club Kendal Town], playing Saturday, Tuesday – we were flying.”
“Consistency was massive but it’s the same for every team, there are no excuses or anything like that.”
He continued by elaborating on the mental implications: “Personally, the unknown affects you a little bit, there’s no doubt about that.
“Not knowing whether you’re going to be playing, it’s going to affect you, no matter who you are.
“It was hard because pre-season’s never fun, so to put in the graft for six/seven weeks with the league starting later, it was difficult to keep motivated because everything was up in the air.
“Plus, when it’s stop-start, it increases the chance of injury and that’s why we had so many last season in a short space of time.
“It takes it toll.”
When we do get back at it, promotion is the aim again and Carroll is putting that well before any personal ambitions.
“It’s all about the team for me at the end of the day,” he stated.
“We shouldn’t be where we are, we’ve got a good squad so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be at the top of that league and getting automatic promotion.”
However, he did touch on his own aspirations, saying: “Personally, I just want to play week-in, week-out, do what I do best and score as many goals as I can.
“That’s a part of my game which I’m looking to improve.”
Having used a 4-3-3 formation for the vast majority of last term, Grainger has experimented with different shapes this current season.
Carroll has been a part of the shuffling pack in midfield but has no qualms about any system switches.
“Good players should be able to play anywhere, no matter what formation.
“Your manager puts you there because he trusts you can play there and believes in your ability.
“In a diamond, if I’m playing the sitting role, a wider role or at the top of it, Danny knows I have the ability to play there.
“You’ve got to go out and do your best wherever you play.
“As long as I’m playing on that pitch, that’s all that matters to me – stick me in nets if you want!”
Despite his age, the vice-captain is seen as a more established member of the squad and finally, believes he can offer his experience to the rest of the dressing room.
“I’ve been in this league a long time now since I left full-time football so I feel like a bit of a senior player with the vice-captaincy.
“I feel as though we’ve got young players who need people to look up to because it’s a young squad,” he continued.
“So, with the experience of the likes of myself, Tinners [Conor Tinnion], Dav [Symington], Scotty [Scott Allison] and Goose [Dan Wordsworth], you feel like you have that extra bit of responsibility.”
Allison also re-signed yesterday, and you read his full interview here.