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Derby County skipper Richard Keogh relishing return to Carlisle United

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 11, 2014

STANDING FIRM ...Richard Keogh.

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DERBY County skipper Richard Keogh says he owes tonight's opponents Carlisle United a lot but he will still look to dump them out of the Capital One Cup.

Keogh is eyeing a double celebration at Brunton Park.

Victory would see Derby reach the second round and also hand the defender a birthday present – he is 28 today.

The Republic of Ireland international joined Carlisle from Bristol City in 2008 for an undisclosed fee and believes the move was the making of him as a player and a person.

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"It was the best thing that could have happened to me at the time," said Keogh.

"I was not playing as much as I wanted to at Bristol City and I decided to take a step back to hopefully take two forwards, and it worked out for me.

"It was brilliant at Carlisle. As people know, it is up north and on its own, and that gave me a good opportunity to really concentrate on my football.

"My wife moved up there with me and we had to grow up together. It really helped me as a person and a player, and I have never really looked back since."

Keogh spent two seasons at Carlisle. He played in the Football League Trophy final at Wembley and was player of the year in 2009-10.

He became something of a cult hero among the fans with one group of supporters taking a giant 'In Keogh We Trust' banner to games.

Keogh signed for Coventry City in 2010 without ever really saying goodbye to the Carlisle fans.

"It will be special, and on my birthday as well," he said.

"I have not been back since I left, and so it will be nice to go back and see some familiar faces and say goodbye properly to the fans.

"I had a really good relationship with them. I still speak to some of them now.

"It was a shame to see Carlisle relegated last season. It is such a good football club and the fans are really passionate.

"I played a lot of games for them, something like 100 in two seasons, and at the time it was a perfect move for me.

"Tonight's cup tie has worked out nicely for me and hopefully we can get a win."

Rams' first-team coach Paul Simpson also has strong connections with Carlisle.

He was born there and had a spell as player-manager of the club between 2003 and 2006.

Simpson led Carlisle to back-to-back promotions from the Conference to League One.

He left in 2006 to manage Preston.

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