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Interviews

INTERVIEW: It worked out really well

19 May 2016

Mark Gillespie on Notts County and clean sheets

Keeper Mark Gillespie broke through the 100 appearance marker for the club in a season which saw him firmly establish himself in the number one shirt. 

Now the club's longest serving player, a run of 50 appearances for the campaign saw him trigger a contract extension which will take him into his ninth season with the club, having joined as a 16-year-old on his release from the Newcastle United academy.

In the first of a three-part interview we spoke to him about the 5-0 victory over Notts County in the last game of the season and the importance of keeping clean sheets.

"The last game of the season was brilliant," he told us. "I think it was my biggest win since I've been here and the lads were different class. Getting the early goal settled everyone down even though there wasn't much riding on the game.

"Alex [Gilliead] stuck it away and from there we didn't look back. It was a complete performance and it was really enjoyable to be a part of it. The fans travelled in good numbers and it was a good day out for them which made it even more pleasing.

"It was good on a personal level because I made a couple of saves in the first half, then another in the last couple of minutes to keep the clean sheet."

"That made it 12 for the season," he said. "Nine of those came after Christmas so we've really tightened up since then. If we can carry that on into next season and keep those clean sheets that obviously bodes well.

"I said at the start of the season that 18 was the target and I think if we'd managed to get that level of consistency through the whole season we'd have been up there.

"It was a bit strange in the end because the results didn't really follow the clean sheets. Tightening up seemed to mean we weren't scoring as many, so it does work both ways.

"From my point of view it was pleasing to get so many clean sheets at the back end of the season. If we can keep that going, and add what we were doing at the start of the season in terms of going forward, then it will all come together nicely."

On his contract trigger, picked up following a consecutive run of 20 starts, he said: "It was set up like that because of the injuries I'd had in the two previous seasons.

"If you look back I'd missed half of the season before, and half of last season, so it was something the club thought they needed to make sure I was fit and able to do it. I completely understand that. 

"It worked out really well. I've played 50 games and it's the first time I've actually played a full season, which might seem strange to some people because I have been here for a while.

"It's the first time I've completed a season being number one and being fit from start to finish. I think that means it's been a success. It's been a challenge in terms of the games I've played, but I've really enjoyed it."

"We've done a lot of work on my knee, which was the main problem I had," he confirmed. "Dolly and Lee Fearn have been fantastic with me and they've backed me on anything I wanted to do.

"I've been over to Dublin and down to Birmingham to keep on top of things. I've done whatever I could to keep fit and it's paid off,. It goes without saying I'm really pleased to have played 50 games. Apart from the sending off I would have been an ever-present in the league, so I'm a little bit disappointed that happened." 

The second part of this interview will appear on the official website on Friday morning.

United PlayerHD subscribers can see an interview with Mark Gillespie now. Click HERE to go to the PlayerHD platform. Follow the same link for more information on United PlayerHD, and to subscribe.

Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.

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