As luck would have it for the media team we grabbed defender Jack Ellis for one of our pre-season catch-ups on Thursday morning … some 24-hours before he penned a brand-new contract with the club.
Fortunately we bumped into him again, to grab a few words with the 19-year-old about his minimum two-year contract.
“I’m really excited to have got it done,” he said. “I’m glad it was all sorted quite quickly. We’ve only been talking about it for a week or so.
“The gaffer told me when we were in the boot room one day before training that we would do it, and then I had a stinker of a training session so I thought he might take it off me!
“It’s just really good to know that he thinks he can work with me more. He’s spoken about where he thinks I can improve and develop and I think this will be a great place for me to do that.
“It’s good that I know I can continue to work hard, which is the minimum standard here, and that I’m with a manager who wants to push me on.”
And now to the bit we did catch on camera following what was another very tough training session.
“It’s good to be back and we have had some very hard sessions,” he told us. It’s nice to see some familiar faces around the place with some of the loan boys coming back. We’re all just concentrating on getting back into the swing of things really.
“Whether you stay on top of your fitness or not I think everyone needs to get up to speed again. You lack sharpness when you come back so you need to dust the cobwebs off.
“For me, I had a few injuries coming towards the end of last year, so it’s good to feel strong in training and stuff like that.”
Having mentioned the injury, we asked him how frustrating it was to have missed out just after he’d started establishing himself in the team.
“It was difficult and it was actually one of my first ever injuries,” he commented. “Fortunately I had good people around me, and Chris Brunskill the physio has been spot on with me as well.
“It was tough but, like I say, it’s good to be back. I was gutted that I missed some of the big games, but I’m delighted to see the way we finished the season.
“Another positive was to hear the kind of things the manager was saying while I was going through that. I’m feeling confident about picking up again and about playing as well as I can.”
With his stay now extended by two years the chance to further make his mark lies ahead.
“It is really good,” he confirmed. “Playing in the first team was something I wanted to do from a very young age so to have finally got here is one thing, but so is staying here.
“I’ve got to try and maintain it and try and get as many games as I can. It’ll be tough, and there’ll be competition for places, but that’s what you want. You want to be pushed by someone and be able to push them as well, so I’m looking forward to it. It should be a good season, we’re playing some big clubs as well, so I’m looking forward to that.”
His appearances last time out saw him adapt to a new role on thar right hand side.
“I wasn’t too familiar with it when I first started, but after a couple of games I started to get the swing of it really and yeah, I’ve enjoyed it,” he said.
“It’s filled me with confidence by playing in this position, to be fair. I was told to keep it simple the first couple of games but as time went on I feel like I expressed myself in that position and started to settle into it more.
“Having played a part in helping this club get to League One, it means a lot to me. We hadn’t been promoted in a very long time so to be a part of it was incredible. I had a great day at Wembley.
“It was a good experience being back at the hotel seeing everyone’s families afterwards. And for all of the Cumbrians involved, we know it means a lot to the fans as well when they see local lads playing for the club.
“To go up with the lads who’ve been in the academy with me is pretty special.”
Six signings through the door, and more to come, suggest that competition for places already alluded to is going to be intense.
“It’s really good,” he insisted. “We’ve seen a couple of lads come in already and with the competition that was already here anyway it’s only going to benefit me going forward.
“People are going to be pushing each other for places and that means I just have to keep working harder to try to get myself in the team. I can only see it pushing us all forward.”
Next up for United is the weekend trip to Workington for pre-season friendly number three.
“I’m enjoying being out there and playing again,” he told us. “I have set myself a few targets this season, but they’re for me at the moment, but obviously I want to play as many as I can.
“Your main goal has got to be that you want to play every game. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t, but you’ve just got to continue to work hard and push for that.
“All the gaffer said was that he wanted me to come back in looking fit and that it’s down to me to show him what I can do.
“We all know that when we’re in League One it’s going to be special for the club. It’ll be great to see the fans back and a full stadium again.
“Hopefully it’ll be a good season. It’s going to be a challenge, and everyone knows that, but we’re all really confident that we can go and do something again.”