James Bailey on joining the club and the Cambridge gameWe spoke to midfielder James Bailey on Thursday morning about his latest challenge having returned to English football from Canada at the back end of last year.
“I’ve enjoyed my time here so far,” he said. “I’m 28 now, so I know what it’s like to be around clubs, and thankfully I already knew a few of the lads here and they’ve made me more than welcome.
“I got the call to come up here at the end of January and that was brilliant because all I want to do is play football. I know Keith is a great manager and I was delighted with the opportunity.
"In football you come to times where you don’t have a club, but you’ve just got to be positive and keep fit so you’re ready if you do get the call.
“The style of play here suits me, the gaffer wants us to get on the ball at the right times. If it isn’t on he doesn’t want us to mess about, we’ve got to put it in good places and I think we’ve been doing that."
“It’s been good to get the starts under my belt," he continued. "It shows that the manager believes in me and I’ve just got to repay that with good performances and, more importantly, some wins.
“It’s unbelievable to be at a club at the right end of the table and looking to go up, that’s where everyone wants to be. We’re still in a great position, we’re having a rough time at the moment, but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve just got to look forward to every game now.
“No team is going to go through a season unbeaten. We know we’re going to get these moments but it’s up to us to show our grit and determination. If we aren’t getting the rub of the green we’ve still got to find a way to win."
“I think I’ve started to show people what I’m about," he told us. "I’m still getting my fitness but that will come with games. I feel fit and sharp, but I can always be better.
“With my moves to India, America and Canada I felt like I wanted to see something different. I went over there and loved it, but I missed the competitiveness and how the fans are here. I missed playing on grass - with it being so cold in Canada we mostly played on 3G.
“Canada wasn’t much of a culture shock because it’s very similar to here. It was when I was in India. We were in hotels all of the time and I missed my family.
“To be fair, the standard of football in India and Canada isn’t too much different. It was surprisingly good - particularly in India where it was very competitive. In Canada and America it was more end-to-end and they didn’t stop running. Here, we try and play football a bit more. It’s also more physical here than anywhere else."
When asked if he'd had any regrets about leaving English football behind, he said: “I don’t regret anything I do. When I look back at my career I’ve travelled to some amazing places ... but there’s no place like home."
And on his early years in the game, he said: “I owe everything to Crewe but my time at Derby was unbelievable. Playing in front of 30,000 fans every week is what you dream of as a footballer - hopefully one day we might get there ourselves."
“We’ve got a great team here and the main thing for me, as well as the rest of the lads and the staff, is to get this promotion," he admitted. "It’s a good atmosphere around the place, the gaffer gets involved in the banter and there’s a good vibe.
"We’ve had a few losses but we’ll pick ourselves up. The lads are all positive and we’re still in a great position. We’re not just trying to finish third, we want to win it.
“We need to win our home games and, in fact, we need to win most of our games now. The attitude we’ve got here means we go into every game looking to win it. That’s the mentality we have. That’s what the coaches put into us and we’re all looking forward to Saturday.
“I’m enjoying my football at the moment and all I want to do is help the club get promoted.”