Matt Robson on looking forward to a new challenge
Left-sided player Matt Robson heads into his sixth season with the club having joined the Cumbrians from Hartlepool in the summer of 2009.
And, with over 200 appearances for the Blues under his belt to date, he confirmed that pre-season is something he now happily takes in his stride.
“It’s been mentally and physically tough but it’s also been good,” he said. “The lads are enjoying it because it’s a refreshing change to be back and getting on with the job.
“I don’t really mind pre-season at all. It’s something I’ve become accustomed to over the past 11 years and it’s a case of getting your head round the tough side of it so that it becomes enjoyable. The fact is that if you do the hard work you get the rewards at the end of it.”
“Everything we’re doing now is aimed at the first game of the season,” he told us. “Every player in the squad wants to be in the starting line up for that so the level of competition is healthy.
“There’s a long way to go yet and I’m sure things will continue to step up as we go through July and early August. It’s going to be a fantastic challenge for everyone.”
“We’ve seen the new faces coming in and that’s always refreshing,” he continued. “A lot of friends left at the end of the season, and that’s always hard, but that’s football for you. We all just have to get on with it.
“When you step back and look at it the new arrivals are exactly what we needed. They bring experience and quality and that’s what the gaffer said he wanted to do. Every new player is welcomed with open arms and they’ll be here with the same aim as the rest of us. Basically we want to get back into League One as quickly as possible.”
“I did have a little smile to myself when I saw that Antony Sweeney was coming to us,” he confirmed. “I’ve known him for a long time having come through the youth set up at Hartlepool with him.
“I know what he can do and hopefully he’ll get going for us. He’s a player with good qualities and he’s a goal scoring midfielder who will fit in nicely with what we’re trying to achieve. The work Kav has done has put us in a good position to go on and have a good season.
“I firmly believe that will be the case. The structure of the club seems to be changing and we’ve seen that first hand with the arrival of Lee [Fearn] our Sports Scientist. That’s something we’ve never had before and we’re buying in to what he’s asking us to do. He’s already introduced a lot of new methods and hopefully that will help towards us building up a bit of momentum.”
And on the makeup of the squad, he said: “We’ve got a good spread of ages this time round.
“We had quite a young squad last season but we’ve got the type of mix you need to give it a really good go. The older lads will help to steady things down but sometimes you need the enthusiasm from the younger lads to help to push everyone along as well. Things are certainly looking bright for us.
“I’m not saying that we can hide away from the relegation last season. I think I’ve said before that it sat with me through most of summer, because it just isn’t nice. However, it gets to a point where you have to let it go and do what you can to move things on.
“It’s still there, because it still hurts, and the lads who were here for it feel the same. We have to beat that and we know it’s time to start again. To do that you need a positive attitude and you need to be prepared to step up and take on the new challenge.”
“I don’t mind which role I have this season,” he commented. “If I move up the wing I know I’ll have a quality player in Danny Grainger behind me.
“He’s got a great left foot and he’s played at the top level in Scotland, so he’s one who knows the game well. We’re starting to look strong along the back four and there is some great competition for places all over the midfield area. It’s going to be interesting because the gaffer is going to have some tough selection problems. I’m sure that’s exactly what he’s been aiming for.”
“We have two great games to kick the season off,” he agreed. “Luton have just been promoted and I’m sure they’ll be up for it.
“However, we will be as well. We have the disappointment of last year that we keep speaking about and we want to start to repair it right from the first whistle.
“Derby have a fantastic squad and they’ll give us a completely different test. It’s a return for Richard Keogh and you could see the heartbreak on his face at the end of the play off final. They came so close, and they’ll want a repeat of that, but it’s at home and it’s a game we want to win. It’s one for us all to look forward to.”
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