CONOR TINNION: It’s a joy to play in this team

First-team captain Conor Tinnion says that it’s a joy to play for Reds after he re-signed with the club yesterday.

Tinnion, 29, has committed to a 12th season at Borough Park and spoke over the weekend about agreeing a new contract, this current campaign, his injury issues and much more.

On his renewed deal, the midfielder said: “I think once Danny and Ruddy were staying, there wasn’t any doubt that I was – there weren’t any long negotiations!

“From a personal point of view, it’s good to get it sorted this early rather than it drag on.”

Something that will drag, however, on are growing doubts over whether the 2020/21 Northern Premier League season will continue due to the obvious scheduling and COVID-19 logistics.

With that in mind, Tinnion, who has scored 61 goals and racked up 304 starts as a Red, discussed looking towards next term.

“I’ve spoken to Danny a lot recently and it makes you feel that it’s just around the corner [the 21/22 term] but I think there’s going to be a bit of a lull at some point because we’re only in February.

“You’re wanting to get going again but unfortunately, we’re still quite a way off that.”

The 20/21 campaign was a difficult one collectively for the first-team and ‘Tinners’ himself, having struggled with a persistent injury issue.

“It was such a long pre-season, we started back very early and I think we were all desperate to get back,” he explained.

“So to go through all that, then play three competitive games before being out for about a month or so, it was frustrating.

“I then hadn’t been back in long before we had the November break so it’s just been a really frustrating season, especially when we weren’t playing well at that time.

“I think the games I missed, we had a couple of draws which we shouldn’t have had.

On the injury itself, Tinnion revealed (with no pun intended): “Hamstrings have always been an Achilles heel of mine and it’ll be something I need to manage going forward.

“I’ll probably have issues for the rest of my career – I’ve certainly had them for the last five or six years so I don’t think it’s going to go away.”

Reds sit third in the NPL North/West table, three points off leaders Colne but four draws in nine matches, one being our last outing on December 19, shows that things haven’t been as smooth as last season, as we only managed five in total over the whole of the curtailed 19/20.

The captain continued and touched on that struggling start, saying: “We’re very keen not to make excuses and it’s easy to say: ‘there was this, there was that’ but at the end of the day, it’s happened for every team.

“It’s hard to put your finger on. Teams have blips and last season we had a little period where we weren’t playing well around the New Year.

“Like I said, it was such a long pre-season, building and building towards that Pickering game and let’s be honest, we didn’t turn up,” he admitted.

“Over the course of a season, it was really four games we struggled in so if it was a proper season, we’d have probably got over it and it’d be in the past.”

Tinners went on to say: “We have to honest with ourselves and say that this season, we weren’t as good as the last one. We didn’t hit the levels we know we should’ve done.

“We can’t have another season like that, because if we want to get to where we want to be, we’re going to have to be better.

“In my opinion, I don’t think we ever really got going but people often say I’m overly-negative!”

It was during this current campaign in which Tinnion made his 300th appearance for the club, honoured prior to our friendly against Penrith in December.

Hitting the 30 mark next month, being a senior member of the squad and wearing the armband, the playmaker was quizzed as to whether this is now a new phase in his career.

“It definitely is,” he affirmed, before joking about how some people perceive his age.

“I laugh when people I talk to say: ‘How long do you think you’ve got left?’

“I’ve got plenty left in me but my role has changed massively from even three years ago when I was playing on the wing, week in, week out.”

Tinnion on the ball in our last home league of 2020/22 against Clitheroe, a 2-1 win

On the differences between his mid-20s playing days and now, the skipper stated: “I think having different responsibilities is the main thing.

“At 26, I didn’t see myself as a senior player at all and I’ve spoken about it before – the players I used to look to when things weren’t going well and it was tough.

“You’d have Gaz Rowntree, Kyle May and Anthony Wright but when it’s you, you have to take on more responsibility.

“That’s a probably a natural progression, coming into centre-midfield, becoming captain and I probably thrive off that; wanting to be involved in everything.

“I think that was the main reason for moving inside.”

Diving deeper into the positional shift, the 29-year-old elaborated: “In the middle part of my career, I enjoyed being a winger and getting goals & assists, almost being happy to be out of games for long periods knowing that, in an attacking sense, I’d come up with something that could make a difference.

“At this stage now, I want to be involved defensively, attacking-wise and that, for me, the motivation when I first spoke to Danny and said I wanted to move inside.

“It’s definitely a different part of my career that I’m enjoying and I don’t think I could be going through this phase with a better manager, who loves to play with the ball and have long periods of possession.

“It’s a joy to play centre-midfield in this team and I’m enjoying it!”

Keep an eye on our social media pages for more re-signing news soon…

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