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Interviews

INTERVIEW: We want to carry this form on

Striker Kristian Dennis on enjoying life at his new club

10 March 2022

For striker Kristian Dennis his deadline day move to Cumbria was one of those ‘whirlwind’ situations often talked about, with his signature barely dry as the announcement of his arrival was made and the window slammed shut.

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Heading down from Scotland to complete the deal, he then had a few days to acclimatise before it was straight into what was a difficult situation, with the club struggling to pick up vital points.

“I think I got here at about eight on the night of transfer deadline day,” he explained. “It was just a case of coming in so I could sign everything, then getting back home so I could sort my stuff out before coming into training on the Thursday.

“It was quick but it’s good to be here. I obviously knew the club was looking to pick up better results but I didn’t even look at the table, or anything like that, to be honest.

“I’ve played against Carlisle a few times before, I knew how much of a big club it is. As soon as I heard, I thought yeah, I’ll give that a go.

“I think it came from leftfield really, I wasn’t actively looking to leave St Mirren, but as soon as the opportunity came it was just about a new start, getting back into English football and moving back home.

“As soon as I heard about the interest I got in my car and came down from Glasgow to get it done.”

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Was there any sense of regret at leaving his spell north of the border behind?

“It was good, a really good experience, I enjoyed my time in Glasgow, living up there,” he told us. “Everywhere was closed to be fair, in my first year, so I couldn’t really go out much.

“But I got the chance to play at Ibrox, Celtic, I’ll probably never do that again. And I played at Hampden a couple of times.

“It was good to play in those stadiums, it was just a shame there weren’t any fans allowed. I’m glad I went up for the experience and I enjoyed myself. 

“Obviously I scored at an empty Celtic Park - it was bittersweet. There’s 50,000 people there usually. Just my luck there was bloody none!”

Initially it was a gradual introduction at his new club, with a place on the bench under then manager Keith Millen.

“I kind of knew I wouldn’t play as soon as I arrived,” he confirmed. “I’m just pleased that I’ve been able to play a few games now and help the team. I’ve got a few assists for Omari and hopefully that will continue.

“Obviously the manager went, and that was strange. I think it was only a couple of weeks after I arrived that the change was made.

“I didn’t expect it, but it happens all the time in football and you’ve just got to crack on with it. It’s obviously hard to see anyone lose their job, but it happens, you’ve got to keep working hard, and luckily the results have paid off since Simmo has come in.”

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And the change in mood has been visible, with players and fans coming together to earn a run of three straight victories, all of which have brought starts for United’s new forward.

“The fans have got straight on board with it because of what the gaffer has done here before, and that has really helped,” he told us. “He’s simplified everything for us on the pitch and told us to be relaxed.

“Everything is calm and low key, and we’ve been able to execute the game plans in all three games so far.

“Simmo seems just so calm. He gets his point across, everyone listens to him. It’s brilliant at the minute.

“I was buzzing when he told me I’d be starting at Leyton Orient. He told me on the Friday when we were training at Birmingham, on the way down.

“I was excited to get a start, the last time I played in the EFL was a while ago, so I was just really excited to get going again. I couldn’t wait to get out on the pitch and as soon as I did I was just glad I’d made the decision to come here.”

Having already mentioned his blossoming relationship with Omari Patrick, it seemed a good point in the interview to discuss the two assists which have helped the team towards their winning outcomes.

“It’s a bit strange that because I don’t usually assist people!” he joked. “I’m happy to be doing that, as long as we’re winning and it helps us get out of the situation we’re in I don’t really care who scores or assists at the minute.

“As long as we push up the table and get ourselves clear of the bottom, then that’s the most important thing.

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“I like playing with Omari, you can misplace a pass to him by five yards but he’d still catch it! He’s good to play with, he’s so tricky and you don’t know what he’s going to do next.

“He’s got the skill to do anything. He’s very unpredictable, that’s a good thing for anyone, if he can beat his man and do something that’ll benefit us.

“Hopefully he’ll carry on in the form he’s in. He’s on fire so hopefully that will continue.”

And the confidence shown by the forwards is reflected throughout the squad.

“I wouldn’t say it felt like a struggling changing room when I got here but the mood around the place is obviously totally different,” he confirmed. “A couple of weeks ago it felt like you couldn’t see where the next win would come from.

“We played Swindon and they battered us, but luckily we’ve been able to pick up results straight away under the new manager. Sometimes people talk about a new manager effect, and it doesn’t happen, but it’s worked for us this time and Simmo has been brilliant.

“It is good to be going into games expecting to do well. We’ve got Northampton on Saturday who are up there so it will be a good test for us. We’re coming into the game on the back of three wins, so they’ll be expecting a tough game as well. We’re all looking forward to it.”

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His work rate and calm approach on the pitch has seen him receive praise from the manager and supporters, with his unfussy style of play making him a popular player with the Blue Army.

“It’s always good when the fans are behind you and thankfully I’ve been able to hit the ground running in the games I’ve played so far,” he said. “As long as you work hard and we’re winning games then I think everyone will love you - long may that continue.

“The fans have been great in the last three games. With the offer we’ve got on for the Northampton game we should hopefully get an even bigger crowd and we can repay them with a win.

“I’m pleased with how I’ve been playing. I hadn’t played a lot in the few months before I came here so I’ve been trying to work on my fitness, but there’s nothing like playing games to get match fitness.

“I’ve played three games in a week and I can’t remember the last time I’ll have done that, so I was feeling it a bit towards the end at Oldham. With a free week it gives us all a chance to recover a bit so we’re ready to go on Saturday.”

Through any bad run of form questions on character tend to arise, but the manner of the win at Boundary Park was a huge step towards putting that particular query firmly on the shelf.

“It was brilliant on Saturday,” he told us. “You can’t beat a last second winner at any level of football. To do it in the situation we’re in against a team down there with us was unbelievable.

“We were all over the moon for Morgs, considering it’s his first league goal as well, it was unbelievable to see.

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“When we’re in that run of form at the minute, everything goes for us. Ten seconds left on the clock, for it to go in, it’s dreams really to win last minute in any game. 

“And in front of the fans, it was brilliant. No-one would shut up, just constantly loud in the dressing room. In front of 1,300 fans as well, superb.

“Everyone is smiling and having a laugh around the place now which is great. We won’t get too complacent, but we want to take our form into Saturday and keep the run we’re on going.

“We want to put in a good performance in front of the crowd and work hard, which will hopefully mean we get a result. If we do that then they’ll want to keep coming back to support us. We just want to go on a good run until the end of the season then see where we end up.

“We’ve just finished training and the sun even came out so it was quite warm which was a nice change! Simmo has us working really hard in every session and if we keep doing that then hopefully the results will keep coming.”

But with a career built on goals, is there any frustration at not yet having hit the back of the net.

“I can’t wait to get a goal in front of these fans and celebrate with them,” he said. “Before the last couple of games a few people have been saying to me ‘oh I think you’re going to score today’ and things like that.

“As long as we’re winning games and I’m playing my part then I’m happy, but it would be nice to chip in with a goal!

“The main thing is for us to work hard to make sure we stay in this division and hopefully the goals will come.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Kristian Dennis on iFollow United now.

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