It’s been a hectic 48-hours for Preston striker Connor Simpson as he quickly packed his bags at Deepdale on Tuesday night as he got ready to head north to help the Blues with their promotion push.
A hot property, who had a host of scouts trailing him right here at Brunton Park when he turned out [and scored] for Hartlepool in an FA Youth Cup encounter in November 2017, he admitted today that he's delighted to have joined the club at such an exciting time.
“I only found out this was happening on Tuesday at about 9pm, so it’s all happened quite quickly!” he told us. “When I got the call I was buzzing and I just started packing a bag right away to make sure I was ready to come up for Wednesday morning.
“The move was a no-brainer really. By the time I got my things together after the call it was time for bed, so I haven’t really had much chance to think about anything.
“The staff at Preston just want me to come and get some game time and do well for myself, and hopefully I'll score some goals.”
“The main thing for me is to play games and learn as much as I can,” he added. “This league is tough, so it will be good experience for me to play in a team that is pushing at the top end of the table.
“We’re in a really good position at the moment and hopefully I can bring something to the team to help us cement that place in the top seven.”
With it all happening so quickly, we wondered if he was kind of player who gets nervous when he’s heading off to meet a new group.
“You do get a bit nervous when something like this comes up, but I think nerves help when you go out onto the pitch, because you can turn it into your energy,” he commented. “I think that helps you get through games and do well.
“It’s all happened too quickly for me to get too nervous, if I’m being honest. I’ve met the lads and they’ve all welcomed me, and you can already see they’re a good set. I’m looking forward to spending a bit of time with them and getting to know them all better.
“Coming to a club like this is unbelievable. The manager situation is nothing to do with me, I’ll just be getting my head down and trying to impress all of the coaches. I just want to be playing football and I know I can only do that by working hard.”
Having had plenty of first team pitch time already, at Hartlepool, Hyde, Lancaster and Preston, he said: “Having played first team games with Hartlepool, before my move to Preston, and then having scored goals with Hyde, I just want more of the same.
“The run of games with Hartlepool was superb and I felt that I was settling in to it all. A few clubs started to talk to me after that but the deal on offer and the things Preston said to me made it a no-brainer, to be honest.
“They told me that they wanted me to go there and train with the first team straight away, and things like that. I knew I was going to a club where I was going to learn a lot more from being in that kind of environment.
“They gave me my debut at Villa Park and that was amazing. The stadium was full and that included a big travelling support from Preston. It was short and sweet, but it was just fantastic to be involved. It was an unbelievable experience to be up against a defender like John Terry.”
“Being with the first team is where you learn and the important thing from it is that it helps you to become a better player,” he explained. “That’s why I wanted to come here because I think being at Carlisle for this long will really help me with my career.
“The good thing about the Hyde loan was that the goals started to come. I wasn’t playing at first, so I had to be patient, but, when I managed to get a start, that was when the goals started to come along as well.
“It was one of those runs where I was scoring from all different types of situations. That gave me a huge amount of confidence because my game is about finishing chances off.”
Speaking more about the type of player we can expect to see, he told us: “People are bound to look at my height and they’ll think, with me touching on being 6ft 6, that everything will come through the air.
“It is a big part of my game, it’s bound to be, but it comes alongside me being good with my feet as well. One of my biggest strengths is being able to bring others into play and holding the ball up.
“I know it’s going to be hard to get into the team and that there’s competition for places. It’ll be a tough challenge but I’m looking forward to it. I’m ready to work hard in training and I can’t wait to play my part.
“I am confident that I’ll enjoy my time here. I don’t think you can come into a team like this and not back yourself. They’re playing really well and that’s a huge part of the attraction. There’s no point being here if you don’t think you can help with that.
“You won’t get anywhere if you don’t challenge yourself. Like I said before, I’ve come off a spell at Hyde where I’ve been scoring goals, and I really do think I can come here and do the same.
“I’m here until the end of the season so I know I have time to impress the coaching staff both here and at Preston. I just want to be out on the pitch and showing everyone what I can do.”
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