Southend United midfielder Ryan Leonard made his mark last season and is now determined to kick on again in 2014-15.
Leonard was named as the Supporters’ Player of the Season for 2013-14 following an excellent campaign in the heart of Blues’ midfield.
It came after a positive pre-season for the 22-year-old, and he says he’s been pleased to get another one under his belt this time around.
The midfielder said: “Last pre-season was all about trying to make my mark and make the manager confident I was the right man for the job in the midfield.
“I’ve now had a year to learn the position so this time around pre-season has been all about continuing my progression and it’s gone well so far.
“Last year was a really good pre-season for me and I started the season in central midfield in a 4-4-2, before we moved to a 4-3-3 that worked so well for us.
“I’m not sure what the manager will go with for the first game of the season, but we’ve played quite a bit of 4-4-2. I’m happy to play in either formation to be honest, I just want to be in the team.
“Last season I’d like to think I made my mark, so now it’s all about continuing that for me and really kicking on, making sure I’m an important part of a successful team.”
Leonard missed a week of pre-season, and a couple of games, after a strong challenge in the friendly against Billericay Town, which Blues won 3-1.
While the midfielder was disappointed to miss a couple of games, he says he’s in great condition as we prepare for the start of the campaign.
He added: “It was frustrating because I’d been really enjoying the hard work and we’d just got into playing some games.
“I missed Braintree Town and a behind-closed-doors friendly, but it was more just a precaution because I didn’t want to do any more damage to it.
“I’ve tried to make up for that missed week by working that extra bit harder, and I’m feeling fitter than ever ahead of the new season.”