Midfielder Jon Mellish has scored three goals in two games this week, as well as putting pen-to-paper on a new deal, and we caught up with him on Thursday morning to get his reaction to what has been an excellent few days.
“It feels like it’s been a long time coming," he said. "I’ve been getting in those positions, it’s just been about taking the chances. I got the first one on Saturday, but I didn’t expect to get two more so quickly.
“I like to get around the pitch as much as I can, I’m trying to arrive in the box and help the strikers by chipping in with some goals, and if I can keep doing that it’s a good thing.
“The manager has spoken to me about goals, and that was one of the main reasons for pushing me into that position, because I like getting around the pitch. As soon as he saw me arriving in the box he told me to keep doing it. Every chance I get I’ll do it."
“I have got a goal target but I’m not saying what it is," he added. "It might come back to haunt me. I want to hit it, but I just want to get as many goals as I can.
“I got in a few positions last year and missed a lot of easy chances, and people were getting onto me a bit, but I was confident that as soon as I got the first one I could get a lot more, and obviously three have came straight away."
As for his switch to the midfield role, he commented: “Until the gaffer came, I’d always been a centre half or filled in at left back. It’s something new and quite exciting. I enjoy it. I know I’ve got a lot to learn, but I’m enjoying it.
“I think I played in midfield at school a couple of times, as a bit of fun, but is isn’t something I thought of until I came here. It was a chance to play and I was excited by it.
"When the gaffer asked me I wasn’t playing and I was in and out of the squad a bit, so it was just a chance to play again and show what I can do.
“At first it felt alright, I felt like I settled into it quite quickly, but then there was a few games where it got tougher. I feel I’m coping with it, I just need to keep going. Now the goals are coming and hopefully they’ll keep coming.
“In that position you definitely get less time, you’ve got to make quick decisions and better ones. I know I need to improve a lot but it’s just getting used to it and I feel the more games I have I’ll become better. It’s a new position and I’m still getting used to it."
On the help he's getting from those around him, he told us: “Dean [Furman] has been non-stop, he’s been a massive help and he’s given me loads of advice.
"I had that at Gateshead with Mike Williamson at centre half. Dean’s a really good person and it’s good to have him to listen to, and I’m taking on board what he has to say.
“To know that the manager believes in me is massive as well. For any player it gives you confidence, just to try things and have a good go at it. It’s brought me on a lot. I know I’ve still got a lot to learn but I can’t wait to learn.”
Tuesday, of course, brought two goals against the team he's supported all his life.
"It was a bit of weird feeling doing that," he admitted. "I wasn’t expecting to play at first, but it was nice to come on and score. A hattrick would have been nicer.
"It did feel special, but we were losing so I was straight back to the centre circle after scoring. It would have been nice if fans had been there and my family, but I really enjoyed it.
“I think I would have celebrated if I’d got a hattrick because my celebration is one of an ex-Sunderland player, so I would have had to do it! I had a few of my mates texting me before the game saying if I scored I had to do it, but when you’re losing you can’t really celebrate, can you.”
And on his first goal for the club against Barrow, he said: “I’ve missed quite a few chances and open goals so it was nice to finally take my chance and get that first goal.
“There was a lot of talk before the game, we knew we had to turn up on the day, and regardless of anything else it was still a derby. Everyone was up for it, it was the first one in a long time, we had to win it for the fans, and it was a good feeling.
“The goal was a weird one because I saw the cross coming in and I was in loads of space. It felt like the ball took ages to get towards my head so I had to think about getting a good contact on it. I did that and it was in the back of the net, so it was a very good feeling.
“The win was massive. We’ve given away some bad goals in previous games, including mine against Scunthorpe, so for the Barrow game to go how it did with us being down to 10 men for 30 minutes, to see that out was massive. It showed what we’re about and what we can do, and it was a massive boost for our confidence."
“I’m not sure what was going through my mind for that Scunthorpe goal," he continued. "It was just frustrating. It was such an avoidable mistake, but I guess these things happen.
"It’s how you learn from them and how you bounce back that matters. That’s why I was eager to do it in the Barrow game, because I knew I had to. I think it probably happens with every player at some point. You’re never going to be perfect, so it’s about how you recover.
“After that Scunthorpe game I felt a bit down, and I saw what was happening, so I knew I had to do something. Now I’ve got a few goals and it’s given me a real confidence boost, it’s brilliant and I’m hoping I can just push on from here.”
On the red card incident with Aaron Hayden in that game, he said: “I didn’t actually realise he got sent off until I got put to left back. I didn’t understand why I was left back at first, but I looked and saw Aaron walking off.
"I didn’t realise because to me nothing happened, he just fell on him. Aaron’s not a bad person and he would never mean it. It was a bit frustrating, but we had to get on with it and thankfully we still got the three points.
"It was good to see it get overturned because Aaron is an important player for us.”
Ahead of the weekend trip to Port Vale, he commented: “They’ve had a really good start, they’ve got some good players including Harry McKirdy who used to be here.
"They’ve got some quick players and it’s a big pitch, but we’re looking forward to it. After a win we just want to follow it with another three points and get our first away win.
“I haven’t spoken to Harry for a while. I don’t think I will, he’s a bit of a character and he’ll probably try and get into my head. I don’t think he will, but it should be a good game.
“We’re confident in what we can do, and we know we can cause people problems. We’ve got some good players, if we show up on the day, which I know we can, we can get those three points.
“We’ve got a few injuries which has been hard, we seem to be getting one after another. We’ve got some big attacking players out but we have to deal with it. We’ve got a lot of quality in the squad and good players who can come in and make a difference. Lewis Bell did very well coming on against Sunderland.”
And on the news that he has been given a new contract which could see him at the club until the summer of 2023, he said: “That’s massive for me, it’s a really good feeling.
"I’ve only ever been on one-year deals, so you get to January and you start to wonder about what’s going to happen. Now I can really settle myself at the club.
"I want to be here, and I want to do well, and hopefully now that I’ve got that couple of years I can really kick on.”
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