INTERVIEW: It's a great place to be

Striker Ryan Edmondson has shown different strings to his bow over his 12 appearances for the club so far with his three goals complemented by some extremely hard work in forward areas, all of which has helped to make the team a potent force going forward.

The club are joint top scorers in League Two, with 30 on the tally and, when in full flow, look like they’re going to score every time they go forward with the big front man right at the heart of just about all of it.

The latest offering was a four-goal haul at Salford, with the 21-year-old receiving a heap of praise on social media after the game for the tireless way he’d worked the Ammies back line.

“I think that was a pretty decent performance,” he said. “The gaffer spoke to us after the game and he told us he thought it was probably the hardest we’ve worked in a long time.

“I felt like you could see that on the pitch. Everyone was doing their job, but they were helping each other as well. If you’ve got to run an extra 20 yards for your mate you know it’s going to happen.

“In the end we got a great result from it. I’m sure the away fans had a good day and they helped us out and got us into our stride. It really was a good day out for everyone.”

“A lot of the time we’ve spoken about comparisons to last season,” he continued. “The lads were saying that sometimes when they conceded a goal everyone dropped a little bit.

“You could see that as soon as Salford got their equaliser we reacted to it. Even their manager in the interview after the game said that after they’d scored it was us who had the spark of life.

“We jumped straight back into it and we said, right, we’ve got a job on our hands here. We took that upon ourselves, we took the game to them, and we converted the chances we had.

“The backing we got from behind the goal was unbelievable. It really does get you going. For once, and I think I heard it first at the Walsall game, there was actually a chant with my name in it.

“That’s a new one. I’ve now got myself a song and it’s not all just about Mox! The lads, we all react to it really well and the support we’re getting is just getting better and better every week. The noise from them is getting louder and hopefully we can carry that on throughout the year.”

Focusing on his role in the side, which is about so much more than scoring goals, he confirmed that he’s happy to do whatever he’s asked to do, as long as it helps the team.

“I’m lucky enough to be quite a versatile player,” he explained. “I’ve always been like that. At Port Vale I played as a right wing back for half the season and I’ve played out wide as a winger quite a lot as well.

“I can be used as a number nine, so I think I’m one of those players where if you need a job doing, I’ll do it. I don’t care where it is as long as I’m out on the pitch.

“I think all of the lads are like that, to be fair. We’ve got to really credit ourselves that we won’t just stick to one job. If your mate needs helping out, we’ll help out.

“That really shows on and off the pitch with the spirit around the place. It’s putting us in good stead on the pitch that we all get on so well. We’re doing really well, and I think we’re looking forward to the rest of the season.”

And the roles he’s playing mean that’s he’s linking up with different players in different games, depending on the overall strategy laid down by the manager.

“I’ve been at a few clubs now where I’ve struggled to find relationships,” he told us. “Since coming here I’ve found some really good relationships, and I think me and Denno work really well.

“When Omari’s fit, we click and work well together, and that started off in pre-season. When Gibbo sits in that hole he runs around and does a lot, and I think it’s really good that we’ve got a lot of great link-ups.

“Especially playing up front with someone like Denno, who is so experienced. I think because I’m kind of the running man, it allows him to get on the ball a hell of a lot.

“He brings so much to our game and he’s so important to us. The more we can get him higher up the pitch and on the ball the better it is.

“If I can help out by running all over the place, I’ll do it. We’re doing well at the moment, we’re in a good place and we’re just determined to carry it on.

“Confidence wise the way we’re playing is doing us the world of good. You feel it when you come in every day, there’s nobody in there who is feeling a bit down or anything like that.

“It’s a happy environment, a happy place, and I really do think we take that onto the pitch. In changing rooms before games you can find lads who are a little bit nervous, but after we’ve had our chat we look confident.

“You can really feel it and it’s so chilled out and calm. We know that we’re probably one of the fittest teams in the league, so if it’s got to go to the 95th minute, we’re comfortable with doing that. I think all of that is really showing.”

Backing those comments up is the fact that the team has suffered just the three defeats in the league so far.

“That’s massive for us,” he agreed. “I think defensively we’ve looked so sound this season. It gives the attacking lads such freedom to go out and express yourself.

“I’ve done it a few times where I’ve thought to myself, why not run into a body of three players and take them on.

“You know if it doesn’t come off there’s a back four or a back five that you’re more than confident will stop anybody from getting through. It’s a case of if you lose the ball, you lose the ball, because we’re confident enough that as a team we’ll do what’s needed to get it back.

“Like I say, knowing you’re that strong defensively allows everybody to go out and play. The stats show that, which is great.”

One of his three goals came at Harrogate – a real striker’s goal that was bagged not only in front of the away fans, but in front of a large gathering of family and friends who, being locally based, were all supporting the home team.

“That type of goal is pretty much me in a nutshell, getting on the end of deliveries like that,” he said. “I’ve always been a box player – actually I haven’t, I started as a centre back – but since becoming a centre forward that’s what I do.

“It’s one or two touches, instinctive, and I’ve watched that goal back a few times because I always seem to score there these days, and it’s just little bits of movement and things like that.

“I’m trying to develop that side of my game with the way I move in the box to get myself free from the defender. When a ball comes into the box and I’ve got one or two yards of space I’m more than confident that it’ll end up in a goal.

“I did have a lot of family and friends there and I got plenty of stick off them after the game, they weren’t too pleased. I had some family in the Carlisle end as well, so I was able to celebrate with them. I suppose it was bittersweet, but it got us the point and we move on from it.”

An ankle injury hampered the early part of his campaign, but he was pleased to report that the stop-start nature of his introduction to the club is now a thing of the past.

“It was a killer, an absolute killer,” he commented. “If you ask any professional they’ll tell you the worst time is when you’re off the pitch.

“It’s difficult seeing the other lads out there when you’ve got to sit on the sidelines and just watch it. I grafted like hell to get back, I always do that on and off the pitch.

“To get back as quickly as I did, I was just buzzing. Obviously the ankle happened, then it happened again, and I thought that things just weren’t going to go my way. I seem to have overcome all that now and, touch wood, I’ll stay injury free and I can have a great season.”

On the red card picked up against Orient, he told us: “It’s one hundred percent a lesson learned. I’ve always been a very, very passionate player, both positive and negative, and I’ve spoken to people about the situation.

“They’ve told me that I need to remember that I’m only 21, still young, still learning the game, and I think it was just a rush of blood. I apologised on social media for it and thankfully I didn’t let the lads down too much.

“They carried me through by getting the results that we needed during the time that I was out of it. You learn along the way and it won’t be happening again.

“I know the best thing to do is my job out on the pitch. I’m up to three goals now for the season which, again, I’m not happy with it because Denno’s doing my head in.

“I’ve been in and out and I seemed to score and get injured or score and get sent off, and that’s stopped me from getting the momentum. I’m in a good place now where I’m getting game after game and hopefully I’ll be adding goals.”

“The manager has been brilliant through it all and it gives you such confidence to know you can go out and do what you do and really express yourself,” he added.

“Knowing the manager is backing you, there’s no better feeling. Again, the competition in this club is so high at the moment, especially with lads coming back fit, it means you’ve got to stay on top of your game.

“As much as the manager does back you, if you’re not pulling your weight there are people raring to go on the sidelines. You’re not going to be out there long if you’re not doing it. As long as I keep performing and adding to my tally I’ll be fine.

“Team wise I’ve been in League One and League Two for a few seasons now and we’ve got a very good talented group here. It’s not just an arrogance thing, or trying to blow smoke, but I do think we can get promoted this season.

“Whichever way we do it, I do believe we’ll be playing League One football next year.”

Read Time: 10 mins