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INTERVIEW: Enjoyed every minute

31 July 2014

Defender on pre-season training and the season ahead

Defender Courtney Meppen-Walter spoke to us about pre-season training and the season ahead.

"Pre-season has gone really quickly," he said. "I've enjoyed every minute of it so it's been really good.

"I've got a lot of minutes under my belt on the pitch and it's always good to see what you're capable of when you first come back. I've enjoyed being out there with such good players and I love showing people what I can do."

"I worked really hard over the summer and I stayed up in Carlisle for most of it so I could really focus," he explained. "About three days before we were due to come back I picked up a little niggle in my Achilles. 

"I tried to train through it on the first day back with the lads because I knew I was fit and I was raring to go. Unfortunately it was too sore to carry on which meant I missed a couple of days training.

"I think I've hit the ground running after that little injury and I just want to keep pushing on now. If I have a good game or a bad one, I just want to make sure I keep my head right and carry on playing as well as I can." 

"We've definitely got something to prove as a team this season," he insisted. "We need to show the fans, ourselves and the gaffer that we're a decent team. I really feel like we'll go on and do that." 

And on the new formations and styles the team have been asked to play this month, he said: "I enjoy playing three at the back. I feel comfortable in that system, especially when I'm in the middle, because I can command people and I get a lot of help and advice throughout the game from people like Danny Grainger and Sean O'Hanlon.

"We can also play four at the back, which is good for the team, because it allows us to do different things. It's easy for me to adapt to different systems when I've got experienced players around me because they're always talking and advising. That obviously makes my job easier.

"I can feel myself learning every day and I think I'm getting more mature and things like that. Everything comes with experience and I feel like the more I play the better I'll become. When the fans are behind you it gives you a lot of confidence and that really spurs me on to keep improving."

The big debate of summer so far for the big central defender was whether or not he scored the second goal in the friendly at Workington.

"I've heard a few people asking whether it was mine or not, but it definitely was," he told us. "The ball came over from Josh Gillies right onto my foot and I just side footed it against the post. It went straight in from there. Nobody else got a touch so it was definitely my goal. 

"I would like to chip in with a few throughout the season but first and foremost my job is to keep clean sheets. When we do that it feels like I've scored but it would be even better if I could grab a few at the other end as well."

"The St Mirren game is obviously our last friendly so things are getting more real now," he told us. "We've been taking everything seriously since we came back for pre-season and I think all of the lads just want to get on with it now. 

"We know what we have to do and I think we all believe we can do it. We all want to put a show on for our fans for the first game because I think they deserve it after the way things ended last season. If we can do that and get three points in our first game it will set us up really well.

"I genuinely think we will get promoted. Nothing is going to be easy, we all know that, but it's definitely what we'll be aiming for. 

"There will be tough games but we've got a good squad which is capable of seeing us through it. I'm looking forward to this season more than I've ever looked forward to a season before because I think we're going to do really well and achieve great things." 

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