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INTERVIEW: A real buzz

10 July 2014

Sean O'Hanlon on pre-season excitement

Defender Sean O'Hanlon spoke to us about the need to hit the ground running as the lads came to the end of their first week of pre-season training.

"It's going well so far," he said. "The lads have all returned in good condition and I think they took on board everything the gaffer asked us to do over the close season. 

"When I first started playing lads would come back in terrible condition and they'd use pre-season to get fit. That's completely changed now. I'm not sure if it's because players in general are a lot fitter or if it's because everybody keeps themselves ticking over anyway once the season has finished. 

"Players know that if they abuse themselves when they're off they'll struggle when they come back. It's all much more professional now and nobody wants to be at the back of the group when you do the running exercises. I think it's important to impress the manager so we can all get off to a good start." 

"I think as you get older you get used to these first few weeks because you know what you can and can't do," he continued. "I gave myself about four weeks of complete rest but I wasn't going away with my mates to Magaluf, or anywhere like that, so it's slightly different. I relaxed with my family and then started picking up my running towards the end of the break."

And on the season ahead, he said: "Carlisle are a club who shouldn't be in League Two so we all need to put that right. All of the lads who were here last season feel like we need to take responsibility and put smiles back on people's faces. The gaffer is assembling a good squad and we're all hoping we'll win a lot of games and challenge for the title. 

"It took a good few weeks to shake the disappointment of relegation off through the summer because you naturally sit there thinking about what you could have done differently, and things like that. Once the fixtures come out you really start to focus on putting things right and you can feel the mindset start to change.

"What happened last year has to go to the back of your mind and I think we've seen already that everyone is ready to get on with the job of having a good season."  

"I won League Two a few years ago with MK Dons and you can get a lot of enjoyment out of a season like that," he confirmed. "It was maybe a bit more physical back then and I'm expecting there to be a bit more football with more younger players on show. 

"I think every team will be capable of beating each other. There aren't any teams who really jump out at you so I think whoever applies themselves and gets the consistency will be there or there abouts come the end of the season. Hopefully we'll be one of them and we'll give the fans plenty to enjoy."

With five new recruits in the squad following a summer of intense work on recruitment, he said: "The players are usually the last to find out about who has signed.

"My dad usually rings me up and tells me. I think all of the signings Kav has made have been exciting. They're all big strong lads with experience and it's right that everybody is excited about the season ahead. 

"There was a bit of a smile when I heard Troy [Archibald-Henville] was coming back. He was fantastic for us when he was here and that just adds to the competition in my position. 

"It does help you focus when you see another player in your position come in. Obviously Courtney [Meppen-Walter] is a good player anyway, and we've got Troy to battle with as well, so it will keep us all on our toes. We're all working hard to be in the starting eleven every week so this period is important. If you perform well in training it's likely that you'll have the shirt on a Saturday.

"We all know we have Luton and Derby to kick things off so that's given everybody a real buzz. Obviously Luton have been out of the league for a while, so they'll be up for it, but we'll be determined to put on a good performance for our fans. 

"We're then on Sky a couple of days later and you always want to play well in front of the cameras. Hopefully that will be the case."

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