Most players will admit that after three or four weeks of a summer break they’re already starting to think about being back at the grindstone, and that’s especially so for midfielder Brennan Dickenson who has spent the past few months recovering from a knee injury picked up towards the end of March.
“If it was up to me I’d be starting pre-season tomorrow,” he said. “I’m feeling good and ready to go. We’ve got four weeks before we’re all back in properly and it’s important for the other lads to get their rest.
“I think their close-season programmes have started this week so they’ll be getting back up to speed ahead of coming back in to work. We’re in at the end of June, but I would love it if it was sooner.
“Having said that, I obviously need to go back down south and see the family and get a bit of time off while I keep working hard, but it will be nice to get going again.
“When I did play a few games at the start of the year I was feeling good and sharp. I remember we trained at Blackburn on the way down to Stevenage, which ended up being my last game, and after that training session on the Friday I was speaking to Aaron [Hayden] and he was saying how sharp I looked, and I agreed with him.
“The next day I ended up doing my knee which was a massive hit when I was feeling so good. The plan now is for me to be completely involved again when the rest of the boys are back in.
“I’m feeling absolutely fine at the moment, but it’s a slow process to make sure everything is right before I go into pre-season at full throttle.
“I had a couple of weeks training a few weeks ago with some of the younger pros and some trialists and I felt strong, so it’s just about slowly building it back up now so I’m ready for day one.”
And with him having signed a two-year deal last summer, he also admitted to feeling that Carlisle is a good fit, having settled well since making the move up here a permanent one.
“I’ve obviously had a frustrating year on the pitch, but I’ve really enjoyed being up here,” he confirmed. “I’ve bought a house up on Dalston Road with my missus and we’re really settled.
“The lads here made it so easy to settle in. I felt at home here after a couple of days because it’s such a good place. It’s a really important part of coming to a new club because you might know one or two people, but it can be difficult.
“Everyone here has made it so easy and it feels like home. The difficult part about football is when players come and go, so it’s good that we’ll have the majority of the group still here next year.
“That’s a real positive because we already know we’ll have a good dressing room again. Obviously players will come in but they’ll fit in nicely because we’ve got such a welcoming group. It will be easy for whoever comes in to settle right in.”
But, of course, getting the squad together is all part of taking the steps needed to be ready for that first competitive fixture in August.
“It will mean everything to me just to be back and playing again,” he commented. “I want to prove to myself and everyone here that I am the player that I said I was in my first interview last year.
“I want to be giving 100% every week for the club and be available for all 50 plus games. It will be good to have a season like that, so that’s what I’m working towards.
“I know there’ll be competition for places and one of things that has kept me going is that I’m really looking forward to making my claim. I can’t wait to be ready and properly show what I can do.
“I’ve said before, I felt like I was getting there before the Stevenage injury, but I felt like I still had more to prove because of being out for such a long time.
“It’s about the fight to get back on the pitch and prove myself to everybody, and I kind of like that pressure. I want to be showing people what I can do, and I want to pay the gaffer back for the way he’s been with me. I’m really looking forward to it.”
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