Midfielder Carl Johnston sat down with the media on Thursday afternoon and previewed the rest of the season whilst looking back on the progression he’s made in the last year at the club.
The young Cod kicked off his league career against Ipswich Town back in October, when he came off the bench in the tight clash and has since become a staple figure in the first-team, making 13 Sky Bet League One appearances in total this season.
Here’s what Carl had to say in his interview:
On how he’s progressed since making his debut against Ipswich earlier this season…
“Personally, it was an amazing feeling coming on to make my league debut at such a stadium and atmosphere earlier on this season. I just wanted to kick on from then and even now so we will be looking for three points on Saturday. Since the gaffer [Stephen Crainey] has come in, he’s put a lot of faith in me, and I feel like I’ve been playing well recently so I’ll keep working hard for the team.
“I’ve always had belief in myself, but I don’t think I would have believed that I’d have played 13 games in the league 12 months ago so I’m really happy with where I am at the minute, but this is only the start of where I want to go. I just need to keep working hard and keep helping the team.
“I love playing for my country [Northern Ireland]; I relish the opportunity any time I’m able to get away as it’s an amazing feeling. I know that I have to perform on the pitch in order to get those opportunities so I would like to continue that going forwards.”
On the bond within the squad…
“Me and Paddy [Lane] are very close, we live together and all that, so we just try to keep on helping each other on the pitch so the goals will come. They’re coming for him at the minute so as long as they keep coming, I’ll be happy enough. I’ve got that first goal on my mind a little, but I know that if the team keeps performing the way they are, the goals will come.
“We’ve got a great group of lads in the changing room who have helped me come in, settle into the team, and help me out on the pitch. If I’m playing in the back four, [Tom] Clarkey has been super behind me, helping me out no matter whether I’m playing on the left or the right, there’s always someone to help me out.
“It’s important for me to have those experienced players around as I can learn from them. Every day in training, I watch what they do and take those examples off them as they are excellent professionals and that’s what I want to be. I want to achieve what they have achieved in the game, so I learn from them and try to progress every single day.”
On the rest of the season…
“We’ve had a chat this morning and we said that there are 13 cup finals left so we will go into each and every one of them believing that we can come away with the three points and see where we end up at the end of the season. One thing is for sure, we are confident we have the ability to stay above that drop zone.
“Where we are at in the table isn’t a fair reflection of how we are playing. Not many teams go to Fratton Park and go three goals up, obviously, it was gutting to lose the three points in the end, but we feel our performances don’t match the current league position. We need to cut out small blips and spells in our game and, once we fix that, we are confident we can go and win games.
“When you are down there, you’re always looking over your shoulder and checking the results that may affect you, but our focus is ourselves. We need to look at what we do here, we don’t need to worry about anything else. We believe we’re close to turning these draws into wins and that we are a hard team to beat so we just need to iron a few little things out and the wins will come.”