IT’S great to be back at Cork City, after a six-year absence.
Walking back into the training ground, it felt like I’d never been away.
Normally, when players start at a new club, they stay quiet for a few weeks, before letting their voice be known around the dressing room.
I just felt so comfortable in the dressing room, that I felt I could be myself straightaway. It helped having lads in the club that I had already known, but all of the players were very welcoming and I already feel very much part of the team.
It’s important for players to speak in the dressing room and to get to know their teammates as quickly as possible, because, then, everyone in the team will know what sort of character you are and what you will bring not only to the team on the pitch, but also to the banter in the dressing room. Having the right group of lads in the dressing room is vital to any successful team.
A good dressing room means that players will be happy to come into work and that, on the pitch, you are ready to do anything for the player beside you.
The best teams always contain great characters in the dressing room. After only spending a few days with my new teammates, it’s easy to see why City were so successful for the past two seasons.
I’ve played in teams where players don’t get along and we never were successful.
There is the odd exception, when players don’t see eye to eye and still manage to be a success — Teddy Sheringham and Andy Cole, during their time together at Manchester United — but, in general, teams need that bond.
Thankfully, I haven’t had to do any incitation, yet. At most clubs, I have had to sing a song, but, with my voice, it’s probably a good thing that I haven’t sung.
I haven’t done my first overnight trip with City, so I may have to screech out ‘Westlife’ yet.
All the little problems with joining a new team aren’t really there, since I have returned to my hometown club.
When I have moved other times, I worried about where to live, the best places for food, and getting lost driving. These are all small problems, but, sometimes, when moving clubs, it’s the little problems that stop a player from settling quickly.
Training has been tough, but really enjoyable.
The lads know when to have a laugh in training, but the intensity and work ethic from every player has been excellent.
Apart from a two-week break that I have just come back from, I have been constantly training since last June.
I would like to think that I am fit, but I didn’t play many minutes for St Johnstone this season and feel that my fitness can improve.
I only completed three full 90 minutes for St Johnstone this season, with my last start back on December 2.
There is a massive difference between being fit and being match-fit and considering the minutes I played for St Johnstone, I wouldn’t consider myself match-fit, yet.
I’m delighted to have joined City so early in the transfer window, because we are in pre-season now and what better way to build my fitness.
If I had stayed with St Johnstone for the rest of the month and joined City later, then it would have hindered my chances of being physically fully prepared for the start of the season.
It was important for me to complete my move back to City as quickly as possible, so that I could get a pre-season under my belt and be ready for the start of the campaign.
When I left City, I was 24-years-old and have now just turned thirty.
At St Johnstone, I just about managed to fit into the middle-age team, but now I’m a full member of the ‘older team’. During my previous time as a City player, even though I wasn’t a young player, players like Greg O’Halloran and Neal Horgan would always offer their advice and support.
I would hope that, as one of the older players on the team, that I could do the same for the current group of young players.
I have been so impressed by the development of the club, since my return. The standard of professionalism within the club has really stood out for me.
Everything we need as players is available to make us the best.
John Caulfield told me, before I joined, just how far the club has come since my departure and he wasn’t lying. The standard of professionalism at the club is one of the main reasons I returned.
It’s only been a week, but I love being back at City.
The Rebel Army are a club constantly improving and making history and I want to be part of it.
I haven’t been this excited about a season for quite some time and I can’t wait for the campaign to get started.