Sean McConville is more than happy to be one of the elder statesmen in the Stanley dressing room – as long as this season’s success continues until May.
The midfielder has put pen to paper on a new two and a half year deal with the Reds to take him beyond his 29th birthday.
And he’s enjoying stepping into a more responsible role in a group of young players.
“It’s a bit strange to be one of the more experienced lads,” he admitted. “The last time I was here there were a lot of experienced lads and I was only a young lad myself but it seems to have switched, there are now a lot of young lads, a lot of youthful energy and only a few older lads like myself, Proc and Anthony Barry.
“It’s worked for us this year. As a squad it’s probably the most close knit I’ve been involved in. We’re close, we socialise together outside of games and training and I think being that close has been reflected on the pitch.
“The lads that haven’t been playing deserve a lot of credit because it’s so hard to let your head go down when you aren’t in the side but they haven’t done that, they’re shaking your hand before the game, wishing you luck and giving you advice and encouragement. It’s great.”
McConville returned to the Wham Stadium in the summer having left for Stockport in 2011.
He concedes it was a pretty nerve racking thing to do but has been happy with how it has gone.
“I always believed I’d play in the Football League again because I’ve always been confident in my ability,” he said. “I had a good season for Chester last year and scored goals and my aim had always been to get back. I came in pre-season, got as fit as I could and just made sure the gaffer had no doubt in his mind about picking me. Hopefully it continues that way.
“It was exciting to come back but I knew some of the fans might not take too well to me being back. The only way you can win fans back over is first and foremost by working hard out on the pitch and what I’ve been basing my performances on this season is work rate and giving it my all every game.
“I think I’m more consistent this time round. I’ve got a position and nailed it down. I think my performances have been good but I’d like to score more goals as I’ve had a lot of chances and I’m confident I’ll keep getting in the right areas, taking players on and I know those goals will come.
“League football is a massive thing for any player. I’m just looking forward to trying to keep my place in the team and being here for the long term now I’ve signed this new deal.”