Through his two-year stay with the club so far Brennan Dickenson has found himself used in a number of positions, often shifting roles during games for the good of the team.
Having signed a new contract with the club last week, he spoke about the versatility he brings to the squad, and about his delight at having extended his stay in Cumbria.
“Coming towards the end of the season you never know what’s going to happen but thankfully the club offered me a deal and we’ve got to a conclusion,” he said. “Knowing you’re out of contract can be difficult, as you get older you get used to it, but it can be tough.
“That uncertainty is daunting but you just have to put it to the back of your mind. When Simmo came in we had 15 games left so that was all we were focusing on.
“Some players were in contract, some out of contract, and we had loan players, but everybody has to put everything aside because at that time all we were thinking about was making sure we stayed in the league.”
“I didn’t really think about whether I’d be getting an offer or not,” he added. “I felt like I was playing ok and he was playing me quite a lot, so I had a sense that he might have liked me as a player, especially with playing me out of position in the role I had.
“It’s obviously not my strongest position but I’m happy to do a job and if it helps the team then I feel like I’ve done that job. I just put the contract side of things to the back of my mind and tried to focus on football.”
Expanding more on that ‘versatile’ tag, he commented: “I’ve played in a lot of different positions and it’s one of those things over the years that you just have to get on with.
“I’ll do whatever job I’m asked to do for the team, and as long as I’m playing I don’t mind. I feel like I’m capable of playing in multiple positions, but the middle of midfield was a new one for me.
“I’ve spoken to Simmo about that and he does quite like me there, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens. It will depend on who else he brings in and what he decides to do with the team. It’s exciting times as far as I’m concerned.
“Simmo wants to see power and pace from me as well as good deliveries into the box. I think goals are a big thing as well, I definitely need to score more goals, I know that myself.
“I think over the course of the season I definitely should have had a few more as well as a few more assists. When you’re going through tough times as a team, confidence is low and it is difficult to keep yourself in a positive mindset.
“Now that we’ve kept ourselves in the league and we know Simmo is staying there’s a lot of positivity around. I think we’ll go into next season with massive confidence and we can push on.”
“I always want to be adding more,” he continued. “I can be my worst critic which can be a bad thing at times.
“I’m very hard on myself and I look back at games and feel I haven’t done too well, but then sometimes I’ll break it down and analyse it and it isn’t as bad as I thought.
“There are times when everybody has a bad game, we’re human and we all make mistakes. We can’t get things perfect all of the time, but it isn’t from a lack of effort. We give 100% every game for the club, the fans and the manager, but sometimes it doesn’t quite work.
“We had some tough and trying times during last season. When you’re down the bottom of the table it’s not a nice place to be. I’ve been in teams where we’ve been at the bottom of the league and stayed up on the last day and it’s difficult.
“Last season we just lost our confidence, but the changing room was still a good place to be because we had a good group of boys. Something just wasn’t quite working on the pitch.
“I had a knock at the time when Simmo first came in but the boys went on a four or five game winning run which really kickstarted a real sense of confidence in all of us.
“We lost a few games along the way but we can’t get it right all the time, every team loses games throughout the season, but it really isn’t through lack of trying.
“There was a real confidence towards the end of the season and hopefully we can keep that, and whoever Simmo brings in can just jump on it and we can all go forward together.”
And the surge of positivity from March to April served as an example to all of the potential this club has.
“The atmosphere around the place was great during those 15 games,” he said. “Those are the sort of crowds we want to be attracting every week, home and away.
“The fans were brilliant and the noise and the numbers at home and away were fantastic. It gives us a real sense of togetherness, they want to be here and we want them to be here.
“We want to fill this place and the more fans that come to the games the better. We want to make it a fortress next season so when teams come here they don’t like it.
“That obviously comes from us on the pitch, but also from the fans making it as loud as they can and it being a bit daunting for the away teams.”
Now into his third year as a blue, he also confirmed that his adopted home is one he personally feels settled with as he prepares to kick on with the new manager – with the small matter of a wedding to negotiate in the meantime.
“I am settled here,” he agreed. “I’ve got a house which definitely isn’t for sale, even though that’s the rumour on Twitter!
“The contract took a little bit of time to sort, Simmo said he wanted it done before the end of May and I wanted it sorted as quickly as possible.
“I’m getting married in the summer and I’m going away, so I wanted it all taken care of before that. It’s done now and I can just look forward to pre-season and seeing all the boys again.
“As we sit here it’s 12 days until I get married [now seven, ed], the nerves are starting to kick in a little bit, but I’m really looking forward to it.
“It’s exciting and we’ve been waiting for a couple of years after it being put off, so I’m in a good place with that and everything else. I’ll be coming back next season confident, happy and ready to go.
“I think it definitely helps when you’re happy in your home life. I’ll probably be one of the older players next year even though I don’t feel it.
“I think all of the boys would say the same, if you speak to an older player in the dressing room you don’t think about how old they are.
“As in all football dressing rooms everyone has a laugh and a joke together, so you don’t ever feel older. I’ll probably have a bit of responsibility to look after some of the younger boys and help guide them if they want that.
“It comes down to them to ask questions and want help, and I’ll be there to give it as much as I can with the experiences I’ve got.”
And looking ahead to the new season, he commented: “I’m obviously getting married and going on my honeymoon, but I’ll still be making sure I do my training so I’m ready for pre-season.
“I have to train whilst I’m away, it has to be done because I can’t afford to completely switch off. I’ve spoken to Jamie [Roper] and Simmo and we’ve put things in place for when I’m away.
“It’s difficult to be on an island and find a pitch to do some work, so they’ve made a few changes to the plan to help me, which I’m appreciative of. I will be relaxing, but at the same time I’ll be working hard.”
“As a squad, we have to push on next year,” he concluded. “That’s the way Simmo wants us to think. There are changes being made in and around the stadium, the pitch is being redone, which we all know will be fantastic again.
“There are certain things that are changing which is the way Simmo wants to do things, and they’re all positive steps forward.
“Last season is forgotten, we can’t dwell on it. We just have to look forward to getting this season started and making sure we’re not in that position again next year.”
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