Macaulay Gillesphey is having a positive experience at League Two Carlisle United so far this season.
When young Newcastle defender Macaulay Gillesphey returned from his loan at Carlisle United the first time around, at the end of the 2015/16 season, he had been part of a side that finished in 10th place in League Two. Making a lot of appearances at left back rather than his preferred position of centre back, he looked steady and reliable, but not really one of the stand out players.
It has to be said though, that the youngster’s learning experience last year went far further than just getting games in a first team. When Storm Desmond arrived in the UK in December 2015, the city of Carlisle was one of the worst hit areas. As well as the club’s Brunton Park home being completely under water, thousands of people were forced out of their homes due to the flooding.
In a fantastic show of solidary, Gillesphey and fellow Newcastle United loanee Alex Gilliead joined the rest of the squad to help local people in their time of need. Moving sofas, washing machines, fridges and everything in between from the houses worst hit in the floods. A fantastic gesture from a community club and a great life experience in difficult circumstances for the young Magpies.
Fast forwarding to this season and Gillesphey re-joined the Cumbrians in late July and will stay there until at least January 2017. The 20-year-old clearly enjoyed his stay at Brunton Park the first time, and all parties believed it would be for the best to give it a second go. At the time, manager Keith Curle told the Carlisle United website:
“Macaulay is a young man who I think is going to have a very bright future. It’s excellent that we can be part of his development.”
So far, it has looked to be a good decision too. Currently 13 games into the new League Two season and Carlisle United are now the only unbeaten team in the entire Football League (Premier League Spurs also unbeaten but only eight matches so far).
Macauley Gillesphey has started 11 of the 13 and this time in his preferred area in the centre of the defence. They sit in an automatic promotion place and look well set for a sustained push to reach League One. If they are still up there in January, it would be no surprise to see the Toon youngster’s loan extended until the end of the season, Gillesphey part of a defence that has conceded only 13 in the 13 League Two matches.
Stand out results so far have included; a 3-2 win over Hartlepool and a 1-1 draw at Portsmouth, both with 10 men, as well as an impressive 3-0 win away to Morecambe. Gillesphey has earned a lot of praise for his performances and Keith Curle clearly rates him very highly.
As he signed a new contract at St James Park in the summer, the question is will the Ashington-born defender ever make it into the black and white shirt for the first team. If he continues the rate of improvement that he is on at the moment, there is absolutely no reason why he can’t. Though the ‘local lads’ story is a bit overplayed in the mainstream media, it is always nice to see an academy prospect come through the ranks.
As previously mentioned, he is a centre back by trade, but there is always the chance he may follow in Paul Dummett’s footsteps and become a left back at the top level, as he does have experience of playing there in the professional game.
Let’s not be mistaken, there is a long way to go for Macaulay to reach the top but he is certainly doing all the right things at the moment. That has to be impressing Rafa Benitez and the Football Development Manager Peter Beardsley.
One thing is for certain, if Gillesphey continues to have success during his loan at Carlisle United, it can only be good news for the Magpies and their fans.