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INTERVIEW: I loved every minute of it

Jon Mellish on his first full season in a midfield role

11 June 2021


INTERVIEW: I loved every minute of it

Jon Mellish on his first full season in a midfield role

11 June 2021

We caught up with midfielder Jon Mellish this week to get his thoughts on a season which saw him make 49 appearances for the club, scoring 16 goals.

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“It was really nice to make that many appearances over the season," he said. "The year before was really stop-start with how much I played. I kind of played in little blocks of five games now and then which only gave me a taste for it. To play in pretty much every game last season was really good for me and that’s what I want to do every year now.

“I’ve had a full season in midfield under my belt and I do feel like I’ve learned loads. Playing in defence, I don’t think I realised how hard it was in midfield. I used to think midfielders just ran about, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

"You’ve got to know your next pass before you even get the ball and be aware of what is around you, which is difficult, but I’ve been learning all the time and I feel like I’m getting better, even though there is a lot more for me to learn."

And on the run during October and November which saw him score 12 goals in 14 games, he explained: “That run I went on was really weird. I did always think that once I got the first one the goals would flow, but I never imagined they would flow as well as they did.

"I just had massive belief in myself, and I felt like every time I went onto the pitch I was going to score when I got a chance, which is what happened during those couple of months. I just wish I could have spread them out a bit more over the season and been more consistent.

“The mood around the dressing room was really good at that time so the lads were obviously having a laugh with me about my scoring endeavours. Lewi [Alessandra] was calling me a goal machine every time I walked past him, but most of the other lads were just smiling at me as we went back into the dressing room after the games.

"We were flying and everything was just coming naturally to everyone, so it was a really good period. It’s definitely been my most enjoyable time in football so far. I loved every minute of it. Scoring goals just makes you feel good and I was really enjoying my football. I was going into every game feeling good and I think it showed in how I played and with how many goals I eventually scored."

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And that period brought another boost when he agreed his new contract with the club, a deal which provided stability and a demonstration of the trust the manager had in his abilities.

“I got my new contract not long before I scored my first goal and I think that did help," he admitted. "I’d only ever had one-year contracts at Carlisle and Gateshead until then, so it was nice to get a bit of continuity.

"The club showed real belief in me, and it felt like a bit of a weight off my shoulders because I wasn’t worrying about what was going to happen next. It meant I could just go out there and play football instead of thinking about only having half a season left on my contract, or whatever it was.

"It felt nice knowing that I had a longer time at the club, and I do feel like that showed in what I was doing on the pitch."

The spell of fying high was curtailed in brutal fashion as the club lost 10 games to postponements due to a variety of reasons.

“That period after the Covid break was hard," he told us. "Obviously physically we were playing twice a week, but mentally it felt like we were never off the bus and we were always travelling, it was just relentless.

"We had a really good set of lads, so we got each other through it, but it was just non-stop. That's why I think, in the end, we all needed a break.

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“Usually I keep myself busy during the off-season but this year with the run we had at the end of the season I did give myself a good couple of weeks off. I’m back into it now, I’m looking forward to getting back for pre-season and I’m going to be ready for it.

"Greg [Short] has given us programmes with plenty of running and strength work to keep us ticking over. I’ve been doing some different stuff, I’m near the beach over here so I like to go for runs along the coast to keep myself at  good level.

“It has been nice to have some time off, but as soon as you stop you do miss it. I think all of us are dying to be back and playing football again, as well as seeing all the lads. Once it comes we’ll be ready for it and it will be good to be back."

Ahead of the 2021/22 season, we asked what the new targets were.

“I definitely exceeded my own expectations last year," he admitted. "I set myself a target of ten goals and ended up with 16, which was nice. Like I said, those two months were nice, but next year I want to be more consistent and get goals throughout the whole season.

"I’m not sure what my target will be yet, I haven’t really thought about them properly. I got more goals than I thought last year so I’ll just have to go one better than that.

“We’ll hopefully be playing in front of the fans again next year and it will be really nice to have them back if everything goes well. Even just that feeling on a Saturday where the stadium is busy and there’s a lot of noise makes it feel more like a match day. It really pushes you on and hopefully we can do well with their support.”

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