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INTERVIEW: I feel really well looked after

5 June 2015

Nathan Buddle on signing his contract

Defender Nathan Buddle spoke to us shortly after agreeing to sign his short-term deal with the club.

"When I first came in the gaffer gave me until the end of the season to work hard to get myself ready for the first team," he explained. "It was brilliant to make my home debut against Hartlepool, but now I've got a massive opportunity to kick on again and hopefully establish myself in the first team.

"The fact I was with the club last season did make this decision easier. The lads were brilliant with me as soon as I came in. They encouraged me to push on and passed on a lot of knowledge and information about what I needed to do to get into the first team.

"The gaffer has got his philosophy and he knows where he wants us to be. It's up to the lads to put that in place now. After being here last season I know what he's aiming for so hopefully next season we can kick on and get up the table."

"I was in a similar relegation battle with Hartlepool when I was younger, but it felt like everyone was working together this time round," he admitted. "There were no fall-outs within the squad and we knew if we stuck together we would pull ourselves out of it. 

"It was great to see everybody playing their part in making sure we stayed up. As far as a learning experience goes it's definitely not one I'll forget.

"The gaffer and Colin [West] obviously saw me on a daily basis in training and they could tell I was itching to play. They knew when I was ready to be involved. It was brilliant to get my opportunity and hopefully I can get a few more next season."

On the adjustment from non-league football to the demands of professional football, he said: "In one way it was absolutely brilliant because you're doing what you love every day. Then there's obviously the physical aspect of it. You sometimes feel it when you have a tough session, but that's part and parcel of it. 

"I was training on a Tuesday and Thursday night then playing on a Saturday before I got here, whereas now we're in four or five days a week, and we then play on a Saturday. It's a completely different ball game and a higher intensity, but it can only develop you as a player.

"I made a few appearances last season but now I've had a taste of it I just want more. I felt like last season was a bit of a settling in period and now it's time to kick on, establish myself and get in the team more often."

"The gaffer gave me my opportunity here last season and hopefully I can repay him by doing well next season," he said. "From my point of view I don't think he could have given me a better contract. I'm not the type to get lazy but when people get a two-year contract they can take their foot off the gas. 

"I'm always going to be on my toes because I know that come Christmas the gaffer can say whether he wants me or not. I'm going to make sure I'm going in every day and proving a point so I do get a new deal."

On making his home debut against Hartlepool, he said: "For it to be against my old club was unbelievable. I've never experienced anything like the first half before. Somebody told me after the game we had something like 74% possession in the first half, which is just ridiculous. The second half didn't go to plan but I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was another learning experience.

"Being part of the squad and watching from the bench is a great experience as well, but there's nothing that comes close to being on the pitch. To play in front of 8,000 people in that sort of atmosphere was something special. 

"I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be before the game. I was more nervous when I came on against Oxford because Troy [Archibald-Henville] got sent off and I was just chucked straight on. I didn't really have any time to think about it at Oxford, so as soon as the gaffer said I was coming on my belly started going. I wasn't too bad ahead of the Hartlepool game. I think I settled after a couple of minutes, which was pleasing."

"I started my work ahead of pre-season last Friday," he told us. "I've been doing some running with one of my friends who has set up his own business with cross-fit training and things like that. I'll be coming back as fit as possible so the gaffer knows I'm ready to play.

"There's no point in coming back after our time off having not done anything because you'll just get left behind. My aim is to come back as fit as possible and the football side will take care of itself once we start training."

And on the support from the fans, he said: "The reaction I've had on social media has been massive. It's a big confidence boost. 

"I remember after the Burton game especially, everyone was on such a low because they had scored so late in the game. The fans kept telling us to keep our heads held high because we'd played well. When I first came into the club the fans were just as welcoming as the players and everyone has made me feel really well looked after."

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