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INTERVIEW: You just hope you play well

24 December 2014

Youth midfielder Connor Hammell on making his debut

Youth team second year Connor Hammell spoke to us today about his debut appearance in the second half of the 2-1 victory over Northampton last weekend.

“I didn’t think I was going to get on at all so it was great for me that it happened,” he said. “I think it would be wrong if you weren’t nervous, but you just want to get on and do as well as you can. 

“You don’t want to make any mistakes and you’re just hoping you play well. It’s one where you have to get your first touch right. If you do that it sets you up for the rest of your game.”

On getting the nod to get on the pitch, he said: “The manager was shouting at me to get ready but I didn’t really realise what was happening. When he asked me to go on I just wanted to get out there and make a good impression.

“The reception from the fans was amazing. It’s so different from playing at youth team level because you don’t get too many fans at those games. Obviously it means a lot more so you just have to block that out and make sure you do your job.

“I couldn’t believe he’d gone for me at first because it was such a close game and there was a huge three points at stake. It shows the youth team the opportunity is there if we work hard. A lot of the other lads are hoping it happens for them because we all want the same thing. We all want to be involved.”

“It means a lot to me to have got on because I came right through the academy system,” he told us. “All you want to do from the moment you join the club is keep progressing until you get to play for the first team. It’s crazy that it’s happened and it’s all a bit overwhelming.

“My grand dad is a big Carlisle fan and he comes to watch us all the time. He was chuffed to bits. With me being a local lad everyone knows about it and they’ve all been congratulating me. It’s been really good.”

Midfielder Hammell, 18, has trained regularly with the first team squad this season and stepped up to take a place on the bench for the Wimbledon fixture at the beginning of September.

“I’ve been training with the squad quite a lot and it’s good to be part of it,” he said. “I’m going to try my best to stay round it all and build on this as much as I can. 

“The other youth team lads were the first to congratulate me. They were buzzing for me. The first team lads have helped me through every day anyway so it’s been a really good experience.

“The manager and Colin West have said some good things about me since the game and that has been massive for my confidence. I know I need to keep performing well to get more of the same. 

“We all had an incentive anyway when we saw what happened with Kyle Dempsey and Patrick Brough. They’re both local lads who have come all the way through the system and they’re playing regularly at the moment. I was playing with them in the youth team last year so, when you see them starting games, you just want to get out there and do the same.

“I don’t mind that I’m not off for the Christmas break at all. I’d much rather be in and doing this than sat doing nothing at home.”

Still ahead for the second years, of course, is the crucial decision making phase of the season.

“This is the tough time of year for us,” Hammell admitted. “We all just want to know and find out what’s happening, but you can’t let that affect your focus on the job. You just have to keep doing well and, if I can stay with the first team, it will remind the manager what I can do.”

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