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Interviews

INTERVIEW: I've learned a lot from my first season

Jack Armer on making his mark

28 May 2021

As far as first season’s go in professional football, defender Jack Armer’s wasn’t bad at all.

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A summer of uncertainty, having been released by Preston, was followed by a bedding-in period where patience and hard work became the norm.

Having come through that he established himself as a first-team regular through the second half of the campaign, notching up 28 appearances and a first goal for the club - in the Cumbrian derby at Holker Street, no less.

“It was a really good first season,” he told us. “I didn’t get much game time in the early part, but as soon as I started playing it was brilliant.

“The lads were all really good with me, we’re a really tight group and everyone supports each other. They knew I wanted to play and it’s difficult when you aren’t involved because everyone just wants to play games.

“You’ve just got to make sure that when you get the chance, you take it, and I think I showed that I did that when I got a good run of games. You’ve just got to work hard and do extra bits and pieces, which hopefully the gaffer notices.”

Having trained with the Preston squad on numerous occasions, prior to his Lancaster City move, he admitted that the move to Cumbria was another that needed some careful assessment.

“I’d trained with players in the Championship, and then in the seventh tier, and it’s a bit of a big step,” he revealed. “I had to work out how it was going to be here, but I thought I settled in quite quickly and then I was just waiting on that opportunity.

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“I’ve learned a lot on a personal note, and I think we have as a team as well. What happened and the way it happened, it’s been a totally weird season. Next season we just have to kick on and try and push through what comes at us.

“At the start of the season I set myself a target of ten games. I’d played the season before but only in non-league, so I would have been happy with that. I ended up on 28, so on a personal note it has been a really good season for me.

“Making my debut was a highlight, and the goal against Barrow was a bit special. We ended up drawing 2-2 but I think because it was so early in the game, and my first ever goal, I didn’t know what to do.  

“Obviously we did want to finish in the top seven, if not the top three, so it was disappointing we didn’t do that. As a team we spoke about promotion at the start of the season and when you look at where we were in January, it was totally realistic.

“What happened, happened, but next year will be a bit different and we want to go one better. We didn’t start the season well but I think the first three games woke people up a bit. We won the Southend home game and everyone just seemed to kick on from there.”

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And it was a season where he demonstrated a healthy slice of versatility.

“I’m not fussed where I play,” he insisted. “I played left and right back, then we played a back three so I was left wing back, and I had to go back in as centre half for a bit as well at Cheltenham, so I’m happy to play wherever I’m needed.

“I actually found it easier going forward when I was on the right as a left footer. People don’t expect you to cut in and it’s an easier position to cross from, so I just tried to make use of that as much as I could. The assist for Omari’s goal came from it and that was a good moment for me as well.

“It was good to get advice from the lads as well. Nick [Anderton] was really good with me all season. We travelled in together every day and he spoke to me a lot about who we were playing against and what they were like in the games he played.

“He was very supportive, and even towards the end when he was playing centre half, he was a massive help next to me and it was really good to play with him.

“I’ve never really had much of a right foot but I had Aaron Hayden next to me, and JJ Kayode in front of me helping me out, and I really enjoyed it.”

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Another lesson learned came from the period of postponements which saw 10 games lost to a wide-ranging series of events.

“That tough run we went on was a bit strange because we felt like we were playing the same way and we didn’t do anything different,” he commented. “Results just weren’t coming, we were all trying as hard as we could and we were training the same as we did in the first half of the season, so it was weird.

“I think we needed a little break, and Ozzy’s goal against Grimsby in the last minute lifted us a bit. I don’t think you can actually put your finger on why we went through that bad run.

“Obviously the break didn’t help, I think we had 10 games rearranged and four weeks without playing, so it was a bit like starting the season without doing a pre-season. We were playing Saturday-Tuesday every week so it was hard, but I don’t actually know if you could specifically say what went wrong.

“We weren’t training outside and things like that, and it’s tough, but with a normal season next year we should have every chance.”

“I think we’ve got a good group of lads and a lot of us will be together next year,” he continued. “We know we’re good enough to be up there at the right end of the table and that’s the aim. We want to win the league, and I don’t see why not.

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“Everything we do between now and the first game is about being ready to go. We’ll be back in near enough a month. In probably the next week or two I’ll start doing a few bits to get really fit for pre-season.

“Having made 28 appearances I want to add to that. That’s why you’ve got to go back raring to go. The fitter you go back the more chance you have of starting the season well.

“Being honest, with six weeks of pre-season if you’re not fit, it’s going to kill you. You need to be firing for that first game, which hopefully will be in front of the fans.

“I only played in three of the games where the fans were allowed in last year and one of them was away at Forest Green. It will be nice to play in front of more of our fans. It makes a massive difference, even with only 2,000, and I’m sure they’ll be even louder when they’re all there.”


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