Southport left-back Michael Carberry insists there is more to come as he is set to pick up the Sandgrounders’ Player of the Month award.
The 24-year-old was in the running against teammates Keenan Quansah, Jack Bainbridge and talisman Jordan Archer but the defender scooped 38 per cent of the votes.
He arrived at Haig Avenue towards the end of the season on a dual-registration from Bootle as Port looked to steer back on track in the National League North play-off push.
They didn’t quite manage to make the playoffs but Carberry put pen-to-paper on a deal securing a move to the Sandgrounders.
On his move from the Bucks to Liam Watson’s side, Carberry weighed up how he’s found the step up.
He told Off The Park: “It’s very different, it’s more physical and a higher tempo in most of the games. I think players for and against take it more seriously because it’s a couple of steps up. It’s definitely more physical.
“Since I’ve been at Southport, the toughest team I’ve played is probably Gateshead, they will were well drilled,” he said, discussing his toughest task so far.
But the full-back believes Port are capable are matching any side with their quality. He continued “I don’t think there’s been a team, that I’ve played against anyway, where we’ve come off and thought ‘they’ve just battered us’ it’s always been a hard fought game.
“Some games, we’d come off and they would be no better than us but they would win, the other week at Alfreton away, we were doing alright for the first 15 or 20 minutes then all of a sudden we’re 3-0 down.
“There’s quite a few games like that, overall, I think they’re all tough games, physical, they’re always a battle.”
It’s been a slow start for Southport. Despite kicking off their campaign with an emphatic win over Boston United, they have stuttered adding just one win but the 24-year-old believes they will be back firing when their injury list decreases.
“We want to be as high as we can be, the playoffs is obviously the benchmark or higher. We’ve been unlucky at the start of the season in terms of injuries, suspensions, it’s all happened at once.
“The last few weeks we’ve been low on players but as they come back, hopefully we can get the full squad together and get some wins on the board and crack on from there.
“We’ve got the players for it, we’ve got some good players, once they’re back fit and ready to go, I’m sure we’ll be fine.”
The shortlist for the award was released at the end of August and caught Carberry by surprise.
“I was a bit surprised when I won it but I think that might’ve been down to half of Bootle voting for me,” he joked.
Despite picking up his first award since arriving at the Sandgrounders, he insists there is more to come.
“I’d like to thank the fans who voted for me. I’ve done alright – I’m not going to say I’ve done very well, I’ve played well in some games but in some, I could’ve offered more.
“A few more weeks and I’ll be able to adapt to situations, different situations on the pitch and positions. Against Banbury, I played wing-back, went into the central midfield role then went to left midfield, adapting in the game.
“A few more games under my belt then hopefully I’ll be able to kick on as well, I don’t think I’ve played at my highest potential yet, not yet.”
“I just feel like assists-wise, clean sheet, the basics of a full-back. It’s very rare, I don’t think I’ve even got one assist so far this season.
“Whereas last season, if I come away from a game or a couple of games and I didn’t set up a goal or there was a great chance to set a goal up, I’d be kicking myself and disappointed. I think there’s more to come in terms of being more consistent, getting my fitness levels higher and just consistency.”