Midfielder Jon Mellish capped off an amazing month with a nomination for the October Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month award, with an overall run of 10 goals in 10 games setting the tongues wagging.
One of the most down to earth people you could ever meet, he admitted this week [moments after recording another batch of social media goal celebration gifs] that his current run of form was both unexpected and very welcome.
“It feels a bit mad, to be honest,” he told us. “I didn’t expect it but I’m enjoying it, and hopefully it can continue. I want to get as many goals as I can going into January, kick on from there and see where it takes me.
“The good thing is I’m feeling really confident. It’s a nicer feeling to the start of the season when I was getting to those positions and not scoring. At Cambridge away last season I missed an open goal.
“It’s a completely different feeling now where as long as I get it on target I feel as though I’m going to score.”
As for the reason behind his excellent form, he said: “I’ve never stopped working hard, I just keep going. Even in the down points, like Scunthorpe, I just kept going, kept getting in those positions and felt it would come.
“It’s easier in a team like this where everyone else is working hard, backing you and pushing you a lot. Then once I got that first goal they just kept coming.
“I’ve got a lot to thank the manager for as well. If a lot of managers don’t fancy a player they would just let them go, but he saw something in me and gave me a chance. I’m grateful and hopefully I can repay it.
“He’s been a big influence and he’s always onto me about what I need to do, work on and how to make me better. He’s doing that personally as well.
“You’ve got people like Dean Furman who’s played the game at a high level and has lots of experience, he’s always teaching me things and I’m listening to him every game.
“The gaffer keeps talking about his record of getting 11 goals by November, he was on about it again on the bus on Sunday, and it would be a nice feeling to beat it and keep getting as many as I can.
“What I keep saying to everyone at the moment is that it’s only been a month. I want to do this for the whole season, then I’ll be really pleased.”
A common theme from all of the player interviews this season has been a discussion about the positive vibes coming from the dressing room, with a real sense of unity within the ranks.
“It’s really good, that’s the main reason we’re doing so well because of how good the changing room is,” he commented. “Everyone is playing for each other and working hard, we’re all backing each other up and want to see everyone do well.
“We want to do well as a group. We’re in a good position right now but we don’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves. There’s a long way to go, but I don’t think there’s any reason why we can’t stay in the play-offs and push even further to the top three.
“All we can do is keep looking at it as a game at a time and see where it takes us. Obviously Cheltenham are doing well and that’s another massive game for us. These are the games you want to play in, challenge yourself against the teams around you, these are the teams you want to beat and start to create little gaps.
GET SET TO GO: Grab a mate and get active for your physical and mental health!9 November 2020
“Our form has been great at home, we go into every game confident we can get the three points, but we’ve got to actually do it.
“I think that’s why I have set myself targets, because you want to keep pushing. I’m approaching my target if you take away cup games. I want to hit it, and it’s almost a pressure gone, so hopefully I can then keep going and get as many as I can.
“But it’s more about team targets and what we can do as a team.”
And despite the procession of increasingly silly goal gifs, it appears that the on-field reaction is pretty much set in stone.
“It’s the Borini and it was at Gateshead where it came about first,” he explained. “I used to be a season ticket holder at Sunderland, he used to do it when he scored, and he was one of my favourite players.
“The assistant at Gateshead Ian Watson said in training that if you score you’ve got to do it. I remember scoring a couple and it was the first thing I thought of, so I did it, and I’ve continued to do it.”
The weekend, of course, brought a mammoth team effort as they kept going to turn round what looked like a losing position and a potential FA Cup shock.
“It was a mad one,” he agreed. “It was very frustrating, I thought we weren’t at our best but over the 90 minutes should have won – but we couldn’t get that ball dropping in the box to get a shot away.
“It’s the FA Cup, things happen, and at 2-0 down you think typical, it’s happened to us. Nobody panicked, we kept saying we just need one more chance, and thankfully I took it.
“I’m happy with the draw. It’s good that it’s at home I think it’s a team we can beat. It will be good to come up against a higher league opponent so we can test ourselves on how far we’ve come.”
The blistering month enjoyed by the defender turned midfielder led to a nice Tuesday morning surprise as he woke up the announcement that he was in the running for the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month award.
“That was a really nice feeling,” he said. “I woke up on the morning with a little notification on my phone.
“It’s nice to get that recognition that you’ve done well, same for the gaffer, it just shows how well the team’s doing. It would be nice to get it, but not the end of the world if I don’t.”
The heightened interest in his exploits brings, of course, rumours of more interest from clubs higher up the ladder.
“You hear little things but it doesn’t really bother or affect me,” he insisted. “I’m not thinking about it. I’m enjoying playing football here and it’s the only place I want to be.
“Like I’ve said, I’ve only done well for a month, it’s been nothing yet, I want to be able to do it over a full season.
“The fans have been brilliant, and I can only thank them. I’ve had a lot of support in the last month which has been a lot nicer, hopefully they can be back soon to share these moments with us and help us push on this season.
“With it being 14 games or so since we had fans at a game it does feel normal now. At first it was a bit weird, like you were still in pre-season, but we’re used to it now. But it would be nice to have them back soon.”