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INTERVIEW: I want to repay the gaffer's faith

Defender Kelvin Mellor on his move to Cumbria

3 September 2021

The process of a player moving from one club to another is often off-handedly described as being a ‘bit of a whirlwind’ but that was most definitely the case for defender Kelvin Mellor who went from finishing up a training session with Morecambe to signing for the Blues in just under 24-hours earlier this week.

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Explaining how it had all unfolded when he met the press on Thursday morning, he said: “It really has been a bit of a whirlwind.

“I spoke to the gaffer on Monday then I got the green light on Tuesday morning to come up here, so I was thrilled to get it done. It all literally happened within a day, it was a pretty crazy 24-hours really.

“I couldn’t believe how quickly it all happened but I just couldn’t wait to get it done. As soon as I came off the phone to the gaffer I knew I wanted to come here and thankfully it’s all finalised.”

And on why it felt so right to get this one sorted, he added: “I actually spoke to the manager, not this summer, but the summer before, and I almost signed then.

“He’s come back to speak to me again, so he’s shown that faith in me and I’ve got a lot of respect for him for that. As soon as he rang me I just wanted to be here.

“Things like that do help. I haven’t worked with him before but I’ve liked what he’s said in all of the conversations I’ve had with him and I just want to repay him.”

Part of the arrival conveyor belt on Tuesday was a medical, then straight out to train with a group of his new teammates.

“We’ve got a good group of lads here and they’ve all made me feel welcome,” he confirmed. “I know quite a few of them from other clubs, which always helps, and there’s a good feeling around the place.

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“I know quite a few of them, and that made the decision about coming even easier. Rod McDonald, Lewi Alessandra, Joe Riley, Danny Devine, Jordan Gibson … if I’ve forgotten any of the others I’m sorry. It’s good to know some like that because you tend to gel quicker.

“I’m sure they can help me and I can help them as much as possible. You want to be in a group of hungry players who want to drive forward and be successful. That’s what we had last year at Morecambe and it seems like a similar sort of group here.

“I enjoyed the training session we had on Tuesday and that makes it easier to settle. Everybody was so welcoming around the club, and that was one of the first things I said to my wife when I got home on Tuesday night.”

And joining up with United obviously meant a departure from the club which had brought him his second career promotion.

“I left there on good terms,” he told us. “We had a good season there last year and got promoted, and it would be lovely to do that here.

“I’ve got nothing but good things to say about Morecambe and I’m very thankful they gave me the opportunity. We did the business there last season so hopefully it will be the same again here.

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“This season I wasn’t really getting in the squad down there and at the age I am now, I need to be playing. It’s been tough with the pandemic, whether that brought us even closer together at Morecambe to get us that promotion, I don’t know, but it’s a club that I’ll always be thankful to.

“It was a great opportunity and for us to get the promotion it made it even better. That was the cherry on top. I just want to play and when I spoke to the gaffer I knew this was the right thing to do.

“It was great to help them go up and it became a bit of a momentum thing. We worked hard for each other, which helped, and we saw other clubs fall off as we kept picking up results.

“We knew we had to keep driving each other on and in the end we felt we probably should have gone up automatically. We didn’t, but we kept our heads and carried on working. When it came to the play-offs we did what we needed to do to get promoted.

“I want another promotion. It would be perfect, that’s what we all go out to do and hopefully we can do that this season.

“Having had that last season it just makes you want it again. Experience is a big thing and I’ve got plenty of that to add to the group. It’s obviously a new season and a new challenge but I think what I’ve done before will help.”

Onto the always difficult to answer question of describing himself as a player, he also confirmed that he feels his style of play will be a good fit with the way the team currently does things.

“I like to get forward and the gaffer has already said that’s what he wants me to do,” he said. “He wants to play exciting football, he doesn’t just want us to sit in and things like that.

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“You can win the game from a cross you do as  right back or win the game from a block or tackle you make. Even more so at this level because crosses into the box cause problems.

“He keeps talking about my Blackpool days, I scored quite a few goals during my time there and hopefully I can bring that here.

“I’m good in the air, I wouldn’t say I’m rapid but I’m not slow. I don’t think I’ve lost my pace yet. I like to play on the front-foot and pass the ball. I obviously like to defend, which is important as a full back, but I just like to be involved as much as possible.

“I think pressing and things like that are part of the game nowadays, you have to be an athlete to be a professional now, so that part of it comes naturally.

“I’ve played centre half and right wing back before so I’m quite versatile, and hopefully that will help as well.

“I’ve obviously played for a few years now but I’m still as hungry as ever to do well. It’s what I’m used to and I’m just hoping to be successful here as well.”

His debut, all things being equal, could well be against Salford tomorrow.

“I definitely feel fit and ready if I’m selected on Saturday,” he told us. “It’s exciting, I was at the game on Tuesday and the atmosphere was really good, and I’m sure it will be even better on Saturday.

“It’s a big game to come into, but they all are. There’s a lot of pressure on them to do well but every game is anyone’s game as far as I’m concerned. It’s about who turns up on the day.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Kelvin Mellor on iFollow United now.

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