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The Non-League Football Paper

James Marwood (Gateshead Winger)

ADVICE FROM THE GAFFER HAS GOT ME BACK IN THE GOALS

MY CV is looking a lot better now – I’ve finally got more goals for Gateshead than my two red cards!

At Hyde on Tuesday I scored my third goal for the club and my second in as many games after getting on the scoresheet against Dartford.

I can’t really put my finger on it. When the gaffer got the job he took a look at my track record and my goalscoring was shocking.

In the first few weeks, our new manager Gary Mills has probably spoken to me more than any other manager has previously.

We’ve spoken about my game and he says there are goals for me in this team. I had a really good record when I was a young lad at Newcastle United’s Academy and I can stick the ball away in training – but when it came to games I couldn’t hit a barn door.

It played on my mind a lot. Especially as a wide, attacking player; you want to be getting a few goals. But we’ve been working on my positional play so hopefully I can chip in with a few more and repay the gaffer for putting faith in me.

Let’s be honest we had a shocking start didn’t we?  We had four defeats and a draw before we got our first win. There was a buzz about the place in the summer because we’d signed some big names.

But things didn’t really materialise under the previous manager, Anth Smith, and now Gary Mills has taken over.
It was a big coup for the club to get him – it was only two seasons ago he won the FA Trophy and promotion into the Football League with York City.

He’s brought in Darren Caskey as his number two and a lot of the sessions, particularly shape work on a Friday, are short and intense. It stays in the brain.

We’ve got some good footballers in our team. Phil Turnbull could play in the Championship and players like John Oster and Josh Walker have been there and done it.

It’s great to lean on players like John Oster for advice. Sometimes you find players who’ve been at the top don’t have much time for younger ones, but John’s not like that at all. He’s always trying to help and offer us advice.

All the lads are in a really positive frame of mind at the minute. The gaffer has got the tempo up, we’re pressing teams and we’re enjoying it.

He often brings in The NLP on a Monday and picks out the opposition manager’s quotes. If he’s saying we gave it away too cheaply, our gaffer emphasises that it wasn’t them giving it away.

When he first came here we were in on our days off working on things. It’s paying dividends so far and long may it continue.

WHAT BETTER WAY TO SOAK UP ATMOSPHERE?

GARY MILLS is not a dictator. He says if there’s a certain way you like to prepare then do it. It’s each to his own because each player has his own superstitions or routines to prepare for games.

I like to have a bath on the morning of a game with some music.

My team-mate Rob Ramshaw ran me a bath on an away trip earlier this season and is very good at getting the water temperature and the amount of bubbles just right.

He makes me nice cups of tea too!

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