Defender Mark Ellis on filling in at left back against CrawleyDefender Mark Ellis returned to the fold in the unfamiliar role of left back last Saturday and his performance put him in the running for the man-of-the-match award as he adapted quickly to the job he’d been asked to do.
“I’ve never played at left back before,” he admitted. “I played at right back in a charity game, but that’s it. I did enjoy it but I’m more than happy for Danny Grainger to take over again next Saturday!
“For me it was a case of coming in and doing well. I know I was out of position but I fully enjoyed it. It was about doing a job and doing as well as I could for the team. It’s nice to get some minutes under my belt again but it’s even better that we got three points and won the game.”
His first tackle, executed with less than 60 seconds on the clock was accompanied by a huge cheer from the Paddock as the fans showed their support for his efforts.
“The first challenge I made was vital,” he told us. “They have tricky wingers and I knew, being in that position, that it was important for me not to get too tight or let them get a run at me. It was a case of timing it right and doing things properly.
“You obviously speak to people like Danny Grainger to get their advice and he told me to go out there and do a job. He wished me all the best and told me to get on the pitch and be a good defender.
“The tackle set things up nicely then I went on that run early on when Shaun Brisley played me through. It put me on the front foot because I had to chase it down. The space opened up and I did think about shooting at one point. I decided to cut inside and keep it simple by sliding Jason Kennedy in. We scored from the throw in from his shot so it was good in the end.”
And the performance proved to be even more impressive when he revealed that his exact role had only been announced on Friday morning.
“That was when I found out the gaffer wanted me to play there,” he commented. “He said ‘have you ever played at left back’ and I told him no. His reply was ‘well you will do tomorrow.’
“I had to prepare right and do as well as I could, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens in the next few games now. I’ll always be ready to play, whatever the circumstance. If I don’t play next week then so be it, but I’ll always be ready to step in.”
The run cemented United’s place in the automatic promotion slots and he admitted that team spirit has played a huge part in setting the club off on its current run.
“It’s massive,” he told us. “There’s great character in the changing room and the lads are enjoying it. The morale level is unbelievable and teams will be worried when we play them if we keep doing what we’re doing.
“We don’t look into where we are in the league too much at this stage but we’re up there and that’s where we want to stay. There’s quality in the team and, having been there and won promotion with other teams, that’s exactly what you need. There’s good spirit and we all get on and we’re giving ourselves a real chance.
“It’s nice to be chasing top spot because it’s where we want to be. We want to be the best team in the league and we’ll keep chasing for points to put as much pressure on Plymouth as we can.
“The support from the fans is massive because it’s helping us to do that. It’s vital for us and as they keep backing us we’ll keep doing what we can for them out on the pitch.”
Looking ahead to the Sunday game at St Albans, he said: “We’ve got to be professional. No game is easy so we have to go there and make sure everyone is right. If we do things properly we should be fine.”