Sean O'Hanlon on settling in at Brunton Park
Defender Sean O'Hanlon joined United just before Christmas, midway through last season, and made an immediate impact as he helped to add steel and determination to a squad which was visibly lacking in confidence.
His no-nonsense performances earned him a new two-year deal and he admitted that the focus now is on continuing that good work.
“I didn't play the full season so I've kept myself ticking over throughout the close season,” he said. “I haven't really had a complete break because of the way last season went for me, so I’ve tried to get into the gym and go for a run at least a couple of times each week.
“Having two young children means I'm up and about early in the morning anyway, but the flip side is that it can be difficult to get out of the house for a couple of hours. I’ve managed to fit it in, though, and I’m really looking forward to getting on with it again later this week.”
“I've really enjoyed my time here so far and I’ve settled really quickly,” he added. “The spell before I got here, with Hibs, was difficult because the team was struggling and I wasn't enjoying my football at all.
“The manager and the fans have been brilliant with me at Carlisle and I've loved it. Living in the area really helps and I'm only five minutes away from the stadium now, which makes a big difference.”
The first few sessions after the summer break traditionally include some testing stamina and endurance based exercises – something which all of the lads have to be ready for.
“Having got here, and got a place in team, what I didn’t want to do was waste the match fitness levels I’ve built up since January,” he said. “I don’t want to come back on Wednesday feeling sluggish so, by doing as much work as I’ve done since May, hopefully I can hit the ground running.
“I'm naturally fit and I suppose I'm quite lucky in that sense. I don't even seem to put any weight on when we're not playing.
“If I'd played the full season I would have given myself a couple of weeks of complete rest. Having missed a big chunk of it I think it was important for me to carry on with the work that had been done.
“I wouldn’t go as far as to say I thought my football career was over before I came here but it did show me how difficult things are in the game at the moment. If you get an opportunity, particularly if it’s at a club as good as this, then you have to take it. Luckily that’s how it worked out for me.”
“It was a relief to get the contract offer, I don’t mind admitting that, and the two years now allows me to really concentrate on the playing side of things.
“I don't really feel like I have anything to prove because, at the age I am now, I know it's more important for the team to do well than for an individual to stand out. If I have a bad game, but the team still win, then it doesn't bother me as much as it used to.
“I've played at this level for a few seasons now, so people know what I'm about.”
for part two of this interview.