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INTERVIEW: The goal is to build on last season

29 June 2016

Mark Gillespie on getting ready to go again

Trinity School Year 10 students Sophie Mason and Will Stuart spoke to goalkeeper Mark Gillespie at the start of the second week of pre-season training on Monday morning to find out how things are going for United's number one.

Regarding his summer break, he told us: "I enjoyed it. Obviously it's nice to get a break and both physically and mentally it's good to get away and spend time with family and friends. 

"But I think it happens every year that once you get close to pre-season you’re excited to come back, meet the new players and get going again."

He then told us about his holiday abroad during the break.

“I went to Italy with my girlfriend so it was relaxing and exactly what I needed," he said. "Obviously that was to reset the batteries and I’m ready to go again now." 

Concerning his aims both for the team and as an individual, he said: "The goal for myself is to build on last season. I played fifty games so it would be good to do that again and to play the vast majority of games.

"I also just want to improve the all round areas of my game. In terms of the team, we finished tenth in the league so we have to look to build on that and look towards the play-off places and the top seven. We also want to match what we did in the cups last year because we had good results in those as well." 

With regard to competition for the number one jersey this season, he admitted that he's looking forward to the challenge. 

"The manager said that he’s going to bring someone in to push for my place, which you’d expect at this level," he commented. "Personally I'm very single-minded, so I don’t think I need anyone to push me on anyway. 

"I'm the only goalkeeper at training at the moment but I think I’ve driven myself to get to where I am. Obviously I expect someone to come in and that keeps you focused and mentally in tune."

Speaking about pre-season training he said: "The training is very heavily fitness based and there's still a bit of work for me to do with having had some time off. 

"I think its a slightly different type of fitness as a keeper as you have to be up and down, so there's a lot of that type of training to go through. 

"The training is also over shorter distances because as a goalkeeper you never really run more than twenty or thirty yards over a short period. That means there are a lot of short, sharp shuttles and you need to concentrate on getting up and down.

"In terms of long distance running and stamina work, that’s more for the outfield players, but it's still a tough period of the season."

With seven new arrivals and the signing of Tom Miller already announced, he agreed that there is a more than positive outlook for the season ahead. 

"The quality of the new signings is exciting," he told us. "We know a lot about some of them and a few scored against me last season, so I’ll remind them of that! 

"I think we can all feel positive because there are some attack-minded players in there, and we're looking to build on the type of football we played last season and score more goals."

United PlayerHD subscribers can watch a series of pre-season interviews now. Click HERE to go to the PlayerHD platform. Follow the same link for more information on United PlayerHD, and to subscribe.

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