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INTERVIEW: Playing with a smile on my face

31 December 2015

Danny Grainger on extending his contract and the Plymouth game

Club captain Danny Grainger spoke to us shortly after putting pen-to-paper on his contract extension on Wednesday afternoon.

"I'm delighted to have got this done," he told us. "I obviously knew my contract was up at the end of the season so to get it sorted as early as I have is good. I can concentrate on the rest of the season now.

"It takes a bit of pressure off because it means you can go out and play knowing you've got a bit of security. It's time to kick on and make sure we finish the season positively.

"I've had a good relationship with the manager since he came in and I was delighted when he gave me the armband again in the summer. Hopefully I can repay him and make sure we kick on up the league now."

"I didn't have any second thoughts at all," he insisted. "We started the conversations a little while ago but the floods have slowed things down a little bit. As soon as the conversations started I knew this was where I wanted to be.

"I'm loving it here, I'm happy and it's the most I've enjoyed my football in a long time. I'm playing with a smile on my face and going into training every day with a smile on my face. I'm really looking forward to the second half of the season.

"The manager knows what I bring to the team and the club, which is important. We have a great relationship but I know I can also get a bollocking when I need one."

"Even though I'm the captain I haven't done anything different to what I do normally," he commented. "Things are going well on the pitch, off the pitch things haven't been great with the floods, but it was good for us to be able to help out. Being able to play football when you're happy makes the job a lot easier.

"Throughout my career I always wanted to come back and play here. To be able to secure an extra year of that, playing with my family and friends close by, is brilliant." 

Looking back at the contrast to last season, he said: "We went through a lot of hard times last year and it wasn't the best place to be, at times. You have to take the rough with the smooth in football and hopefully come the end of this season we'll have had more good times than bad.

"The manager has asked me to do a job on the training ground as well as the pitch. I've got to try and make sure I help as much as I can and demand high standards of myself and the lads.

"I've played a few different roles as well - and it's not very often I get called a winger! It's good because I'm playing football with a smile on my face, which makes it much easier."

On the home game at Deepdale, he said: "I enjoyed the game at Preston. My mam grew up there so I had quite a lot of family watching. It was one of those games where everything seemed to go right and it was nice to put in a good performance. 

"Charlie [Wyke] is waiting for me to miss one more penalty, so he can take the ball off me, but I'm really enjoying getting a few goals at the moment. Goals are nice but as long as the club gets three points that's all that matters to me."

"I've signed this deal but I've still got my personal targets, which I've had from the start of the season," he told us. "We've also got targets inside the dressing room we want to achieve. It's a big second half of the season for us, we've had a couple of weeks without a game and we're still in the playoffs, so it's time to make sure the second half of the season is memorable."

"I think the aim has to be to help the club get back into League One," he admitted. "I'd love to be part of that. To be involved in something like that with a club you've supported all your life would be fantastic. Whether that happens this season or next season, only time will tell.

"When you think about the break we've had the manager has looked after us and given us a few days off to spend with our family. We've been back at it this week and you can tell the lads are looking forward to getting onto the pitch and getting back to winning ways.

"We know Plymouth will be a hard game and they're top of the league for a reason. They've got threats going forward and they're a good outfit at the back. We know we can hurt them, we did it in the FA Cup game and we did it in the league without getting the run of the ball. We know it will be difficult, but it's one we're all looking forward to."

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