Reggie Lambe says he is relishing his free role behind the striker after being given a “licence to thrill” by Carlisle United manager Keith Curle.
Lambe has been deployed as a No 10 for much of the season, a tactical switch that has yielded instant rewards, with the Bermuda captain netting six goals in 25 games.
He will be looking to find areas to make his darting runs when Carlisle face League One Gillingham in an FA Cup second-round replay at Brunton Park today. A home tie against Sky Bet Championship side Sheffield Wednesday awaits the winners.
“I’m enjoying the role I’m playing at the moment,” Lambe told the club’s website. “The gaffer has given me freedom to roam about the pitch, but I know when we lose the ball that I still have defensive responsibilities.
“The good thing is that I know I’ve got the players behind me who can act as a safety net if the ball goes past me, which means I can get forward as much as I can.
“The gaffer has given me loads of freedom going forward, but he has made sure I get back when I need to.
“As long as I keep getting back in and helping out defensively then I think he’ll continue to give me that freedom.”
The 26-year-old believes he has “come into his own” for Carlisle this season but knows he can ill afford a dip in form if he is to continue playing in his favoured position.
“I do feel like I’m in some of my best form at the moment,” Lambe said. “With the freedom I’ve got it means I can get around the pitch and get on the ball in places where I can try to make things happen.
“I feel really good playing in that position. The other thing is that I know I’ve got players waiting to take my place, so I know I’ve got to perform in every game.
“Sully [attacking midfielder John O’Sullivan] is back from injury now as well, so that means there’s more competition.
“I have to make sure I keep performing so I keep my shirt.”
Carlisle’s promotion ambition have suffered a setback in recent weeks, with the Cumbrians losing 2-1 at home to Port Vale on Saturday.
With his team slipping to fourteenth in the table, Curle is keen to bring in reinforcements.
“I need to change a few dynamics within the changing room,” the manager said. “That’s whether changing personnel, or improving some of the personnel that we’ve got — improving the output because I think there’s more to come.”