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INTERVIEW: There will be strong competition

Steve Collis speaking ahead of the Cambridge game

12 September 2020

Goalkeeper coach Steve Collis spoke to us this week ahead of the league opener at Cambridge on Saturday afternoon.

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“I’m looking forward to the start of the league season as much as I would be if I was still playing,” he said. “We’re all really looking forward to it and hopefully we get a positive result.

“The first couple of games have been disappointing in terms of goals conceded, but the good thing with football is you very quickly get a chance to put it right and bounce back. That’s what we’ll be looking to do today.”

And speaking about having competition for places with three goalkeepers in the ranks, he said: “Competition for places is what we wanted. We thought we’d have two goalkeepers pushing each other, but circumstances have meant we’ll end up with three once Magnus is back, and that just adds to that competition, which is great.

“There will be strong competition, that’s exactly what you want and what I want, and it's something I’m really pleased about that we’ve got three good goalkeepers at this moment in time.”

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“Magnus’ injury was obviously very disappointing, but the news is better than we expected," he continued. "He’ll hopefully be back training in the next couple of weeks with a view to being back in action in early October, which is positive.

“He thinks he picked the injury up at the very start of pre-season but he continued training and played three or four 90 minute games without any reaction. After the Gateshead game there was a lot of swelling in his knee and Ross [Goodwin] had a look at it and wanted to get it scanned.

“It was good to get Magnus in early in pre-season because it allowed me a bit more time with him. We were in during July doing small training sessions and we managed to get some good sessions in with him. With the amount of time we had off, it was really important to get him in and training as quickly as possible after we’d signed him.”

“Marcus [Dewhurst] is someone we know well after his loan last season,” he continued. “He’s an exciting young goalkeeper at the very start of his career and we’re excited to have him on board.

"His attitude is great, and he likes to work hard in training, I work him hard and he still gets back up and does everything that is asked of him.

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“He’s from a Premier League club who think very highly of him. He’s been involved in the England set up with the U19s. He’s an exciting young goalkeeper at the very start of his career.

“We’ve then also got Paul as a goalkeeper with a lot of experience, and he was probably the stand out goalkeeper in the league last year. We were very pleased when we were able to bring him in, and although you could say he’s at the other end of his career compared to Marcus, he’s got the same attitude, which is really good for a goalkeeper at his age.

"He wants to work really hard, and I’m really pleased with the group we’ve got together. Although he’s got a lot of experience, he still has a long way to go in his career, I believe. He’s 31, but who’s to say he doesn’t have another five, six or seven years, maybe more.

“I think with Magnus, Marcus and Paul, the work we do on the training ground is extremely important for match days. What also excites me is looking at the youth team set-up.

"Young Isaac [Robinson] trains with us most days now, and we’ve got two exciting first years in Gabriel [Breeze] and Scott [Simons], who I’m going to try and integrate into the sessions as much as I can – I think it’s important for them to acclimatise to an adult, professional environment.”

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Speaking more about how he tries to knit the goalkeeping unit together, he said: “I try to pass on anything I can to help them all from my experiences.

“I think the main thing is to make sure they’re all working as hard as they can and make sure we get the best out of them.

“You’re the last line of defence and as a goalkeeper you’re always heavily scrutinised. It can be lonely, but you’re still part of the team. It’s a position where you can make nine great saves and one mistake, and you get remembered for the mistake.

"It’s a team game, and when you concede you concede as a team, but you do definitely need thick skin.”

On his relationship with manager Chris Beech, who he worked with at Rochdale, he said: “We had a successful time together at Rochdale and I think it was about six years that we worked together.

"We know each other well, so when he asked me to come in last season I was more than happy to do that. We bounce ideas off each other, and we know how each other works, and I think that works well.

“It’s very important that we’ve got the same beliefs and things like that. It’s extremely important when you work in quite a high-pressure environment that he trusts me, and we’ve got similar experiences that we can use together.”

“I’ve been here for a while now so I’ve settled in easily and I’m really enjoying it,” he told us. “I joined in January, which feels like a long time ago now, but it’s nice to be here and we’re settled back into a little bit of normality now.

“It’s a fantastic club. I think it’s got unbelievable potential. My time at Yeovil, in terms of location, is probably similar to the unique sort of situation at Carlisle. That can only be something we can look to use and benefit us."

And speaking about unique situations, we wonderd what the lockdown period had been like for a coach who had just seen last season's keepers move on.

“We obviously let both goalkeepers go during the lockdown period, which was strange," he commented. "It was a strange situation for everybody because it obviously isn’t something that has happened before.

"Before we knew whether the season would start back up again, they were all given programmes to do, but it’s slightly different for a goalkeeper and there’s no substitute for being out on the grass and saving shots.

"We got through it, and we're back now with a crop of really good keepers, and I'm looking forward to pushing on with them.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Steve Collis 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.


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