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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Peter Murphy set to break Carlisle Utd outfield appearance record at Bournemouth

Peter Murphy will claim a remarkable piece of Carlisle United history when he attempts to boost the Blues’ play-off bid at Bournemouth tomorrow.

Peter Murphy photo
Peter Murphy

When United’s longest-serving player lines up in Greg Abbott’s back four at the Seward Stadium (kick-off 3pm) he will break the club’s appearance record for outfield players.

The clash in Dorset, where victory could see the Cumbrians back in League One’s top six, will be the popular Irish centre-half’s 440th Carlisle appearance in all competitions.

That will put him one game ahead of legendary midfielder Chris Balderstone, who has held the outfield record for 37 years.

Murphy’s feat will also see him move into second place in the all-time Carlisle appearance list, with only goalkeeper Allan Ross (550 appearances) having represented the Blues more often.

The 31-year-old, currently enjoying a testimonial season, said he was honoured to figure so highly on United’s list of history-making players.

“If selected at Bournemouth it would be a good achievement and it makes for good reading to see my name up there,” said Murphy, who joined from Blackburn in 2001.

“I’ve been quite lucky to be selected for so many games and also that I haven’t had any really bad injuries. Hopefully that can continue.

“I feel I’ve got a lot more seasons left in me. I like to think I look after myself and do the right things so long may it continue.”

Murphy, a regular pick by manager Greg Abbott this season, has made 349 Football League appearances for the Cumbrians. His overall total is boosted by outings in the Conference, play-offs and four cup competitions.

He still trails Ginger Thompson (374), Bobby Parker (375), Balderstone (375) and Ross (466) in Carlisle’s Football League appearances roll of honour, but hopes he can make more inroads into those stats and Ross’ all-time record.

And Murphy revealed he is taking inspiration from a former Carlisle star in his bid to prolong his career for many more years.

“I was reading something Tony Pulis was saying the other day about Rory Delap and another player at Stoke,” said Murphy, last season’s Wembley goal hero. “He said they will play on until they are 40 because they look after themselves and keep themselves fit.

“In the past, with the way older footballers’ lifestyles used to be, with things like diet and drinking, there wasn’t as much preparation and a career was a lot shorter. These days there is a lot more emphasis on preparation, preventing injury and looking after yourself.

“You do find players playing a bit longer. I wouldn’t say I will still be playing in my forties but the way I feel now and God willing I don’t get a bad injury, I don’t see why I couldn’t play on for a lot longer.”

The Dubliner has helped United to an impressive 14-match unbeaten home run and is determined Abbott’s side can reproduce that strong form when they head for Bournemouth this weekend.

Carlisle, seventh in the table and a point behind sixth-placed Notts County, are awaiting their first goal and point on the road in 2012 but Murphy says it is wrong to read too much into their contrasting fortunes at home and away.

“These things happen, I don’t think it is anything psychological,” he said.

“In the last few games of the season it could go the other way. The important thing is to keep winning games to keep yourselves in the race. The worst thing that could happen now was for us to have been up there all season and then drop out of it.”

Tomorrow’s 12th-placed opponents have lost five games in a row despite spending £1.6 million in the transfer window, but Murphy warned United to be on their mettle against Lee Bradbury’s men.

“It will be a test,” said the defender. “Only a few weeks ago Bournemouth were up there with us going for the play-offs. They’ve had a few bad results but they are still capable, certainly at home.

“We have just got to dig in. It is a test we are well up for.”

The Cherries could be without £750,000 striker Matt Tubbs (groin) but winger Marc Pugh (ankle) is set to return.

Murphy's latest testimonial event is being held on Sunday night at the Shepherds Inn – a St Patrick's Night dinner with a panel including Jimmy Glass, Barry Fry, Alan Kennedy and Norman Whiteside.

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