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INTERVIEW: I went through the full range of emotions

Attacking midfielder Jamie Devitt on his return home

4 February 2022

Attacking midfielder Jamie Devitt arrived at Brunton Park on Thursday morning feeling like he’d never been away having made the switch from Barrow on deadline day with just a few hours of the window left to go.

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The 31-year-old brings a wealth of experience to the fold, which includes a previous three-year spell with his new club that saw him become a firm favourite with the fans.

“Coming into work this morning it just feels normal,” he said. “It doesn’t even feel strange, it’s just like another day. I’m excited.

“It feels a bit different because I know I’m coming into a team where we’re struggling, so I know we need to hit the ground running.

“We need to start picking up results, and once that happens I think that’s when I can really start to enjoy it. At the moment it’s about hard work, putting my head down and trying to get points on the board.”

“I spoke to the gaffer on Sunday night, which was when I first found out that this might be happening, and the first thing I said to him was that I wasn’t just coming here because it’s a comfortable thing to do, or anything like that,” he added.

“I’m coming here to try to help. Carlisle shouldn’t be down the bottom of the league and the gaffer knows that as well. He was brilliant on the phone so I’m looking forward to working with him and hopefully helping to get us moving up again.

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“Look, it is exciting, and after I’d put the phone down on Sunday I told my little lad and he was buzzing. My missus was so pleased, and the little one hasn’t been up here yet, because she’s till young, but I couldn’t get the smile off my face.

“I was feeling quite low on Saturday after the game we played in with Barrow, so I was like a different person when that call came. I wanted it done as soon as it could be, then when Monday came and something happened where it looked like it was all off, and that was tough.

“Then in the last couple of hours it was sorted – it was a mad, mad day. There was one stage at about 5pm when I was told it wasn’t happening. If you’d seen my face then, I was at quite a low point and it wasn’t a nice feeling.

“Then about three hours later there was a message on my phone from the Barrow chairman and he told me it was coming to an agreement where it meant I could actually come up here. The emotions I went through that day – it was all a bit strange, really.

“I was so glad when Sarah [McKnight] sent all the forms through and it was done. I couldn’t take the smile off my face because I was dying to get up here.”

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Having had a stop-start spell since leaving the Blues just over two years ago he confirmed that he’s fit and ready to go through what it going to be a vital period for his new club.

“I’ve been fit now for a couple of months, and fully fit for the last month,” he told us. “I’ve played a couple of games and come off the bench, and things like that, and as I just said to the gaffer, I need minutes to get match fit.

“It’s completely different to go out and do some runs from what it is to playing in a match. Once I get a few games under my belt I’ll be completely ready.

“There are a few people who are questioning fitness, and stuff like that, but I haven’t got anything like that in my head, to be honest with you. I’m here to try to help this club move up the table, and it just feels good to be back, to be honest with you.

“I was getting butterflies in my stomach driving in this morning, and there’s been people tagging me in old videos, and stuff like that, and I don’t think I’ve got through all the messages that have been sent to me yet. I’m just buzzing.”

With the club on a mini-run of defeats he also acknowledged that there’s no room for sentiment or bedding in, it’s a case of hitting the ground running and having as much impact as possible.

“Like I say, I’ve just been in with the manager and one of the big things he said was that we need results,” he commented. “We’ve added the new faces, there’s five of us from the last two days of the window, so we need to do what we can to pick the lads up who are here.

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“It probably is going to feel a little bit flat because of the last few results, so we know that we’re needed to play our part in changing that.

“The gaffer also mentioned that he’d only heard good things personality wise and he just wants me to go in there and be myself. I don’t think I can come in and be my normal jokey self at the moment because that’s not the position we’re in.

“Nobody wants to be there, so it’s about hard work first and then we can start to relax a bit once we’re winning games.

“My pet hate when playing football in training is losing even a five-a-side game. It winds me up and, as you know, I’ve blanked you a couple of times in the past when that’s happened because I won’t speak to anyone.

“He wants me to drive those standards and demonstrate that winning mentality, and I can’t wait to get going again with all of it.”

A haul of 22 goals from 130 appearances during his first spell at Brunton Park means it will be, without doubt, a very special feeling to pull the shirt on again when he makes his second debut for the club in the coming days.

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“To be fair I wish it was today,” he insisted. “I’m looking forward to meeting the lads, I do know a few of them already, and I want to integrate with the group as quickly as possible.

“I can’t wait for Saturday and to hopefully playing a part. I think anyone will tell you that you play your best football when you’ve got the fans behind you.

“You know you can go out there with the freedom of knowing they’re behind you with everything you do or try to do.

“I’m just really, really excited. I think since I left that I’ve tried to get back in just about every transfer window, but it was never able to happen for one reason or another.

“I’ve spoken with David [Holdsworth] quite a lot, who I actually got on quite well with. I don’t think people realise that we actually do get on. We’ve kept in touch ever since I left and when he phoned on Sunday I was half-thinking, what does he want here.

“Once he told me that they wanted me to come back, it really couldn’t have happened quick enough as far as I was concerned.”

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And in terms of where the United boss sees him fitting into the current mould, he said: “We’ve had a chat about where he sees me playing, and the dynamics he wants me to bring to the team, so it’s now about me getting onto the training pitch and making him take notice.

“My first aim is to get into the team and then we can take it from there. I want to be helping with goals and assists – I remember it was hitting the woodwork in just about every game for over a year when I first got here, we don’t want any of that again.

“It’ll be fine if it’s hitting the woodwork then going in. I just want to do my bit.

“I think the first result I check every Tuesday and Saturday is Carlisle’s, I’ve still got it all saved on my phone, so I want to be seeing my name pop up to show that I’ve scored or set one up.

“I do enjoy the assists but there’s no better than feeling than when your team scores. If you’re part of that goal then it’s an even better feeling. If you’re contributing to the team it doesn’t really matter if you score, assist or watch someone else do it.”

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Having had the frustration of the last couple of years, with the manager leaving not long after he joined Blackpool, and the subsequent spells with Bradford, Newport and Barrow, he told us: “Honestly, it’s been horrible.

“I’ve hated the last two or three years and I was close to jacking it all in. I’ve had a chat with my missus about not being happy and always thinking about what the point of it all is.

“Even with Blackpool, the manager left three or four days and I thought, yeah, it’s just my luck this. It hasn’t been a good time from the moment I left and I’ve always wanted to come back. It seemed to be bad luck after bad luck, but I’m back here now, it’ all behind me, and I’m excited for the first time in a while.”

And the length of deal with United, until the end of the current season, adds another incentive for that ‘hit the ground running’ mantra that has been the theme of the interview.

“A million percent I know I have to come here and do a job,” he said. “When we set the length of the deal, I didn’t question it one bit.

“I know I have to prove myself and that’s down to me. I’ve been given a chance until the end of the season so I want to take that with both hands and earn a new contract as soon as I possibly can.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Jamie Devitt on iFollow United now.

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