Defender Dave Atkinson on signing for Carlisle United
Defender Dave Atkinson spoke to us shortly after signing his short term deal with the club following a loan spell at the end of last season.
"I'm pleased to get it done because it's been a while since I was offered the contract at the end of the season," he explained. "We just needed to sit down and agree terms, and the gaffer had other targets he wanted to bring in, so we didn't feel there was any need to rush it.
"We'd already agreed things really. We just needed to sort the finer details of the contract. I'm glad it's all signed now and I can't wait to get started."
"It was a great confidence boost to be offered the contract back at the start of May," he said. "Hopefully I can repay the gaffer by helping the team get up the table next season. I get on with all of the lads and I know this is a good club, because I've obviously been here before, so that made the decision easier.
"My appearances here last season gave me a taste of what League Two is about. That was my first experience of men's football so it's good to have that under my belt. You don't get as much time on the ball as you do in under-21 football, and it's more physical, but I've seen it first hand and I'm ready to push on."
On the positions he played for the Blues through the last month of the campaign, he said: "I don't mind playing anywhere. I've been played in different positions throughout my career at Middlesbrough.
"I can play across the back, or in the centre of midfield, and as long as I'm helping the team I don't mind where I am. I prefer centre back, but I obviously played at right back last season so I'm comfortable there as well.
"The gaffer has told me he wants me to get on the ball and be confident. Keeping clean sheets is the main thing for the team, but I know I need to prove I can play for this club on a personal level.
"It's different now to when I was on loan. This is my club and I can't go back to Middlesbrough if things aren't right. I'm here and I'm looking forward to the step up. It did feel strange when I left Boro for the last time, but I'm getting used to it now and I just want to get started."
"My target is to prove myself and to play as many games as I can," he told us. "I've got to show the gaffer what I can do so I make sure I get another contract.
"I've already started on the fitness side of things. I started about a week ago to make sure I'm ready for pre-season. I don't enjoy the running and getting blisters during that first few weeks when we get back, but it's got to be done. If you miss out on it you're behind everyone, so a good pre-season does you a world of good."
And we couldn't let him go without talking about what was an unbelievable game against Hartlepool on the final day of last season.
"The last game of the season was mental, but it was a great experience to play in front of a crowd like that," he said. "Our fans were unbelievable on that day. They've been great with me since I got here and there was a good reaction on social media when I was offered a contract.
"I'm looking forward to playing in front of them again and to hopefully helping the team to get the results we all want."
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