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INTERVIEW: The club feels like it's on the up

28 May 2016

Russell Penn on signing for United

We caught up with midfielder Russell Penn shortly after he put pen to paper on his one-year deal with the club on Friday morning.

"I'm really excited to have signed," he said. "It's a new challenge for me and I'm really looking forward to the season ahead.

"I've played against Carlisle a few times over my career, it's a really good club in a great area. It's a club I've always admired, they've got good support and a good stadium. The pitch is excellent which will only help, we've got some very good ball players in our team."

"I've met the gaffer a couple of times and his ambitions for the club and myself were key," he explained. "That's what attracted me to the club, we've made some decent signings already and I think that shows what we want to achieve this season.

"Every manager wants to finish at the top of the league but I think this is real ambition. We've got a real platform from last season, if it wasn't for the floods and other scenarios I think they would have been in the top seven easily.

"The manager wants to get promoted this year. Unfortunately for me I've had a disappointing season at York but prior to that I'd been in the play-offs for the last four years.

"That's something I want to do here. The club is definitely big enough to make the next step but we've got to make it happen. I want to make sure it happens for myself, the gaffer has obviously seen something in me and I want to repay him."

Talking about the competition for places within the squad, he said: "There are some good midfielders at the club already. Throughout my career I've had to work hard to get in the team. I wouldn't like it if there was just two midfielders, it's good to have competition because it brings out the best in everybody.

"I've played against Jason Kennedy and Luke Joyce a lot, they remind me of myself. I'm really looking forward to the battle with them which will only make the team better. Competition makes a good team, you need people to fight for your position to make you better."

"I like to think I'm a leader," he admitted. "I've been captain for the last four years at the clubs I've been at so I know that's something I can bring to the party. We've got a lot of leaders in the squad across the pitch, if we get the match winners in there as well we'll be a force to be reckoned with.

"I'll always give 100%, I think that's a must from every player. If you look at my record over the last ten years, I don't miss a lot of games. I like to think I'm a fighter in midfield who can play a bit as well. I've got an eye for a pass and I can hopefully chip in with a few goals."

On last season at York, he told us: "They're are a fantastic club, the Chairman is fantastic and I think they'll be a force next season in the Conference.

"We had a couple of manager changes last season and things didn't go our way. We went down which was sad because the club is in the right hands. They've got a new stadium on the horizon, I'll always have them in my heart and hopefully they can bounce back."

"I don't know about the future signings but if you look at the signing of Nicky Adams, that's a great coup for the club. That just shows where we want to be next season.

"The club feels like it's on the up, I wouldn't be here if it didn't. I could easily have had it comfortable at other clubs but I'm a fighter, I think this will suit me at the stage of my career I'm at."

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