CHARLIE Wyke admits it was “emotional” to leave home-town club Middlesbrough after signing an 18-month contract at Carlisle United.
The former Hartlepool United loanee ended a 15-year association with Boro when he joined the Sky Bet League Two strugglers.
He has praised his former club but insists he is now fully focused on helping Pools’ relegation rivals stay up this year and is looking forward to the challenge.
The 22-year-old said: “I’ve been at Boro since I was seven so it was hard, and emotional, to leave, but I had to do it.
“The facilities are amazing there, as well as the coaching staff.
“They’ve got everything you need. I think that’s why they bring so many players through.
“Aitor Karanka is a great manager too – he has brought the Spanish way to the club and some great players.
“It’s a shame I’m leaving in a way but it’s what I’ve got to do if I want to make a career.
“Some people are saying it’s a step backwards to go forwards, but I don’t really see it that way.
“It’s a step forwards if I’m going to be playing every week.
“Hopefully I can do well.”
Wyke said new manager Keith Curle convinced him to join Carlisle, as well as the chance to work under his Number 2 - former Pools assistant Colin West.
He added: “The day before I signed I came to see the manager and he sold the club to me.
“My first impressions are good. He’s very driven and wants to win every game.
“He told me his plans and his vision for this season and next year and it just felt like the right club to come to.
“Another big reason was Colin West, because he was a striker and he can make me a better player.
“Carlisle are a big club and the position they’re in didn’t really faze me.
“I know we’ve got enough to get out of it and I’m up for the challenge.”
Pools manager Ronnie Moore was tracking Wyke, who spent a three-month loan spell at the club earlier in the season, and he believes that experience will stand him in good stead at Carlisle.
Wyke added: “I know what League Two’s like and I’ve been in this position with Hartlepool – I know what it’s all about.
“For the last two or three months I’ve been wanting to get out of the Under-21s and back into the game properly.
“It’s definitely the right time for me,” added the striker, who was talking to the News&Star.