Central defender Rod McDonald had one of those ‘whirlwind’ days which tend to happen to footballers at this time of the year, particularly when all they really want to do is get on with training and preparing for the season ahead.
A medical was followed by a trip up to Creighton to join the squad, but he was then marched through the process of official pics and interviews before finally being able to change into his training gear.
A hard session – a mixture of football and general fitness skills – was then followed by the finalisation of his contract details and the all-important signature.
“It’s all happened pretty quickly, really,” he confirmed. “My agent got in touch with me last weekend and from there I went on to meet the gaffer.
“He really made me want to come here with the way he spoke and I’m looking forward to the new season and the new challenge.
“On a personal level I’ve been down south for the last two years and my family are up north, so I wanted to align my family life with my football life for a change.
“When I spoke to him he made me feel really comfortable about coming here, and obviously it’s going to be good for me off the pitch as well on the pitch, which is perfect for me.
“I’ve got a young family so it’s nice to have a bit of security behind you with a two-year deal. It’s great for me that the gaffer has shown that level of belief in me.”
With other offers to consider he went on to explain what the manager had said that had helped to swing the decision Carlisle’s way.
“The manager spoke about the fact he wants to play football and that suits my game down to the ground,” he said. “I like to get it down at the back and play out and support the lads in front of me. I try to be no-nonsense, but I also try to play a bit of football as well.
“I try to play whenever I can, but obviously only when it’s in the right areas. I’m not going to try to do a stepover on the edge of the box if I’m under pressure, but I will try to play out when it’s safe to do that.”
Unusually at the age of 28 he finds himself as one of the older members of what is shaping up to be a young, hungry and ambitious group.
“That’s something that did get me excited,” he told us. “I listened to the interview Aaron Hayden did on Sunday and he really got my blood flowing, so I don’t know what that did for the fans.
“He’s got me excited for coming here and playing. It’s a great club and all of that has been made clear to me. I want to help others learn and I want to keep learning myself.
“I think you’ve got to look to improve every day on the training pitch. You want to leave a lasting image of yourself wherever you go, and I did well at Northampton and Coventry. From there I went to Wimbledon, and I just want to keep pushing on and helping every club I go to as much as I can.”
As for what he wants from this move, he told us: “As a player you just want to play as much as you can. To do that you need to stay fit and healthy so that you can do your bit for the team.
“I’ve had two promotions out of this division now and the aim is that I come here and add a third. I think that’s another reason why the gaffer has brought me in, and it’s why I wanted to come here so much. His ambition and my ambition are in line, so I can’t wait to get started.
“It’s a good club to be at and every time I’ve played against Carlisle I’ve known that it’s a big club. I know they want to get promoted. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?”
But prior to the main business of the season is the small matter of a tough six weeks of training.
“Because it’s been so long I’m even excited for pre-season, and I’ve never said that before!” he joked. “I’m someone who has to train hard, I always train hard during the off-season, because I know if I don’t out the effort in I’ll struggle.
“I need to keep on top of my fitness and my strength training, but that’s just something you have to do if you want to play every game.
“I think through the whole of lockdown I only had two weeks off, from March until now. That period was difficult because we didn’t know if we were coming or going. At first we thought we might be back at Easter and then it just kept getting pushed back.
“That’s difficult to deal with, but once you get something definite to aim for, as we have now, it makes it easier to focus and get ready for it. This month will fly be, it’s not long until we kick off again, and I really can’t wait.”
Click HERE to watch an interview with Rod McDonald on iFollow United now.
Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.