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INTERVIEW: I've learned a lot

10 June 2013

Part one of a three part interview with Tony Caig

Keeper coach Tony Caig today admitted that he is already looking forward to next season as he finalises his pre-season keeper training programme having recently put pen-to-paper on a further one-year deal at Brunton Park.

“It's good to have the contract sorted out,” he admitted. “It's a difficult time for everyone when you come towards the end of the season and you aren't sure about what's going to happen.
“It's only right that your performance gets judged before a decision is made and I think the goalkeeping department as a whole has improved over the past couple of years.”

“I've learned a lot since I came back to the club,” he continued. “I was originally here part time while I was still playing at Workington and I have to admit that the transition from player to coach isn't an easy one. 

“The first six months or so for me in that role were difficult, but I’m feeling much more comfortable with what I expect from the players and what the players expect from me now.”

And the responsibilities within that role have grown as the months have gone on.

“At the end of our sessions towards the day of a game the gaffer has usually started working on his team shape and things like that,” he said.

“The lads who aren’t in the starting eleven come over to me and we do something extra. I'll usually put on a shooting session for them, to keep them interested, and that’s where you have to use your man management skills.

“You have to remember that you've got a mix of young players who are happy to be on the bench and older players who are really disappointed not to be in the team.”

“Whatever it is we do – whether it’s shooting, crossing and finishing, or a small-sided game – I make sure that everyone approaches it with the right attitude. We always run it so that it’s game related and the outfield players, whether they're defenders or attackers, don't get anywhere to hide. 

“If they aren't doing right, I’ll tell them, because I've been in that group of players who haven’t been picked, for whatever reason, and I know the only way you can go home feeling like you’ve accomplished something is to put 100% effort in.”

“I really enjoy working with Greg [Abbott] and Graham [Kavanagh],” he said. “We’re a small backroom team and I think we all benefit from that. I think the last year has been the biggest learning curve we could have had, because of the way the results went, but we've drawn on past experience to try and help move the club forward. It hasn’t always been easy but we stuck by what we believed and we’ll be stronger for it.”

“I’m really looking forward to pre-season now,” he told us. “There’s a real desire there to get back and put a few things right. We were used to being at the top end of things before last season and that’s where we want to get back to. The hard work is being done now to make sure that happens.”

Click HERE for part two of this interview.

Click HERE for part three of this interview.

Part two of this interview will appear on Tuesday morning.

United Player subscribers can see a four-part interview with Tony Caig now. Click HERE to go to the Player platform. Follow the same link for more information on United Player, and to subscribe.

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