Defender Clint Hill scored his first goal for the club on Saturday afternoon following his September arrival so we took the opportunity to talk to him after the game about the win, and about his plans for the future following confirmation from the manager last week that he’s hoping to extend the centre back’s stay with the club beyond the current short-term spell.
“It was massive for us to get the three points because it helps us to build momentum,” he said. “We’ve gone from a good, positive win last weekend and we’ve come to Grimsby, which is always a difficult place to play at.
“It wasn’t the best of games; it was scrappy and dogged, but it highlighted all of the character we’ve shown over the last month or two. We managed to nick a goal and a win, so that’s happy days.”
“Obviously we would have loved to have played better, with a bit more football on show, but the game kind of dictated that we couldn’t,” he continued. “That meant we had to show a different side to our game and it’s always nice to come away with a clean sheet and a one-goal victory.
“To be totally honest, clean sheets are more important than scoring goals, or even personal performances, as far as I’m concerned. It keeps the momentum and confidence going and it takes us into a difficult away game at Luton.
“They scored seven today [Saturday] so ... no pressure! It’s a tough test coming up because they’re a good team. We’ll rock up there and give it a good, strong performance, and you just never know.”
Speaking more about the shut-out, he said: “You always need a good goalkeeper behind you and I think that’s twice in the last two games where he [Jack Bonham] has pulled off saves to keep us in games.
“You certainly can’t ignore the contribution he gives us because he’s been brilliant, as have all of the players.”
Having bagged the winning goal right in front of the away support he played down suggestions that’s he’s a terrace hero in the making.
“No, I don’t know about that!” he insisted. “I’m just really pleased to be here and playing football. They’re a great set of lads – mind you, their music choice is horrendous – but I’m really enjoying my time here.
“It was nice to get my first goal, but fancy it coming from two centre halves! It’s been a while since I last got one and I think I’ve had a few chances where I could maybe have done better.
“That’s a few times Lids [Gary Liddle] has ventured out there recently. I think he did it last weekend as well, so that’s a couple of assists for him.
“He’s been fantastic the last five or six games and I’m really enjoying playing alongside him. We’re building some consistency at the moment and what we’re finding is that if you do the simple things well, positive results tend to come your way.
“Fingers crossed we do look solid defensively at the moment, but I don’t like talking about that too much because I don’t want to jinx it. Listen, it’s the whole team doing it, because they dig in when we’re out of possession. They get into a shape and they make it difficult for the other team to score. Long may it continue.”
United boss Keith Curle has made absolutely no secret of the fact that he wants the experienced centre back to extend his stay beyond the parameters of the current short-term agreement, and there was absolutely no hesitation from the popular veteran in confirming that the feeling is mutual when the subject was raised post-match at the weekend.
“I’ll speak to the gaffer and if he wants me to stay, that’s brilliant,” he replied. “I’ve enjoyed my time here and I have no reason to think of going anywhere else, to be honest. Let’s get these three games out of the way and maybe we can sit down and iron a few things out.
“It’s a place I enjoy, and I was here for a few weeks before I signed and that meant I got to know the lads and the whole set-up. I knew the manager, which is very important for me, and he looks after me as long as we look after him. That’s all you can ask for.
“I’m proud to be here and I’m really enjoying my time. Everyone is treating me really well, so we’ll cross all of that when it comes.”
And with opportunities for coaching also part of the job spec with the club, he confirmed that’s another aspect of his stay he’s enjoying getting his teeth into.
“If I can do that, it’s also brilliant,” he commented. “I’ve got my badges and I see it as the next step for me. It might be my last year [as a player] but we’ll see. If there’s an opportunity to go into that side of things then brilliant, I’ll enjoy it.
“Football wise, there’s another 30-odd games to go yet, so let’s see how we go after that. What I will say is that it’s a great club, a big club, and there’s expectation there, which is only right.
“There’s pressure on us to at least match what was achieved last year and that’s what we want to do as a group. We can only do that by showing commitment and getting the results to go with it.”
Click HERE to watch an interview with Clint Hill on iFollow United now.